Instead of doing what any compassionate human being would do after one of America’s largest cities – Houston, Texas – was ravaged by a powerful hurricane, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he wants to attach an amendment to the relief bill that would include spending cuts.
The move by the GOP senator could imperil the entire bill, which means that the relief funding would get held up and the debt limit wouldn’t be raised – two disastrous outcomes for the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, Paul laughably called his add-on measure the “American First” amendment, though it’s unclear what is so patriotic about withholding funding for Hurricane Harvey victims and pushing the U.S. toward defaulting on its debt.
The full statement from the Kentucky senator and failed presidential candidate:
Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul announced he will file an amendment to the hurricane relief legislation in the U.S. Senate to provide assistance while preventing the federal government from further running up its debt.
“As the Senate prepares to vote on hurricane aid, I will be introducing an ‘America First’ amendment to cut wasteful spending from abroad to pay for much-needed relief here at home,” said Dr. Paul. “Moving forward, any new spending should be offset by significant reforms.”
Dr. Paul’s amendment would offset the $7.85 billion designated by the U.S. House, as well as an additional $2.15 billion to be used for either Hurricane Harvey relief or preparation for Hurricane Irma, by instead using funds that have been earmarked for foreign aid but not yet spent.
Sen. Paul is framing his proposal as a noble effort to get America’s books in order, but he’s simply playing politics after a deadly natural disaster in order to push through spending cuts – all while Hurricane Harvey victims wait for Congress to give them some relief.
It may be smart politics for a Senator from Kentucky to drone on about spending cuts while thousands of Americans are counting on relief funding, but it’s not what compassionate human beings do.
If Sen. Paul really wants to put America first, he should sit on his proposal and save it for a time when thousands of Americans aren’t desperately looking for help from their government.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.