Rand Paul Promises To Filibuster Budget Deal, But He Won’t Be Able To Stop It
Rand Paul is promising to filibuster the budget deal when it gets to the Senate, but it's extremely unlikely he'll be able to do anything but delay the inevitable.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has announced his intention to filibuster the budget deal reached between Congressional Republicans and the White House, but it seems fairly clear that all he will really be able to do is delay the inevitable:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he would filibuster a bipartisan budget bill currently making its way through the Capitol.
“This is exactly the opposite of what every conservative Republican in America wants, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it,” the Republican presidential candidate told The Hill.
“I will filibuster it, I’ll delay it, I’ll shout about it. I’m going to talk about it until I’m tired of talking about it and until people wake up and say this is wrong for the country,” he added.
The House is poised Wednesday to approve a two-year government funding bill that raises the spending caps set in 2011 while avoiding a potential default on U.S. loans.
The Senate must approve the legislation before it heads to President Obama’s desk.
The legislation’s discretionary spending increase — by $112 billion over the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years — is drawing criticism from many Republican advocacy groups.
“I think raising the debt ceiling with no limit is absurd, wrong, a recipe for unlimited spending,” Paul told The Hill following a campaign rally in Denver, a day before the third GOP presidential debate Wednesday night.
“I think busting the budget caps is exactly the wrong thing we should do,” he added. “We should use the leverage of the debt ceiling to try to get spending reform, not give up on spending reform.”
Unsurprisingly, there are also reports that Texas Senator Ted Cruz will join Paul in attempting to block the deal in the Senate, or at least slow it down as a much as possible, and it’s likely that the deal will be heavily denounced by most if not all of the Republican candidates for President in tonight’s debate. In the end, though, there seems to be next to nothing that Paul, Cruz, or anyone else that may latch on to their apparent attempted filibuster will be able to do to stop the deal from getting to the President’s desk. The House will pass the matter today at some point, and after that happens its role in the process will be over and done with. Therefore, any intimation on Paul’s part that his filibuster would be aimed at buying time for the House Freedom Caucus or other groups to force changes to the deal is really just empty rhetoric in the end. Additionally, because of Senate rules this budget measure will be on a limited time calendar for consideration to begin with, meaning that Paul’s “filibuster,” if it happens, will really just end up being a really long speech during which he takes the floor and holds it. This would prevent other Senators from speaking, but it wouldn’t really interrupt the business of the Senate or prevent the bill from going to a final vote on the bill assuming that there are 60 votes to invoke cloture, which seems likely given the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is fully behind the deal.
Of course, stopping or even delaying the deal isn’t necessarily Paul’s main concern here. He likely knows that the deal will eventually become law, if not in the next day or two then most assuredly by the end of the upcoming weekend. He, on the other hand, is at the head of a Presidential campaign that has been in the doldrums for months now, and has faced speculation about getting out of the race to concentrate on his re-election to the Senate. In the polls, he has been hovering at the danger of irrelevance nationally, in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. Politically speaking then, becoming the center of attention like this could be something that would shoot some energy into a fading Presidential campaign at just the right time. In that sense, I suppose, it’s a smart move on Paul’s part. Given the fact that it’s doomed to fail, though, it strikes me that it’s more than just a little irresponsible to use the floor of the Senate for what would ultimately end up being a campaign stunt. For that reason alone, I tend to think that Mitch McConnell will end up giving a very short leash that will allow him to voice his objections to the deal without really disrupting the business of the Senate notwithstanding the fact that the two men have been on generally cordial terms since Paul came to the Senate. Whether this ends up helping Paul’s flailing Presidential campaign remains to be seen, but I suppose we’ll have a weekend filibuster to watch along with football and the World Series.