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Paul defends shutdown in op-ed: 'I wasn’t elected to be anyone’s rubber stamp'

The Hill logo The Hill 2/9/2018 John Bowden
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) defended his extended floor speech blocking a bill to fund the government in an op-ed Friday, explaining that he wasn't elected to come to Washington and be Senate leaders' - or anyone else's - "rubber stamp."

Writing in Time magazine, Paul said that his call for debate on whether government spending caps should be lifted caused "wailing and screeching" from Democrats and Republicans alike.

"The Senate was set to vote on a 700-page bill that added over $500 billion in new spending to our already out-of-control debt. It was a massive and destructive bargain struck by the leaders of both parties, where both got to blow up the spending 'caps' they agreed to just a few short years ago," Paul wrote.

"I simply asked for one thing in this broken process: a 15-minute vote on whether those caps should or should not be broken," he continued.

Paul's speech led to a brief government shutdown late Thursday night, before the chamber voted 73-26 in the early hours of Friday morning to pass the bipartisan spending deal.

The Kentucky Republican added that he would not be intimidated by "the will of a small circle of Big Government, free spending leaders who demand silence."

"I wasn't elected to be anyone's rubber stamp. I wasn't elected to allow business as usual -whether it's out-of-control spending or out-of-control rules that stifle debate and votes," Paul said.

In his speech on the Senate floor, Paul attacked members of his own party for "hypocrisy" on the deficit, accusing Republicans of only caring about government spending when they are in the minority.

"They get in power and they decide, we're just going to spend that money too. We're going to send that money to our friends this time. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty," Paul said from the Senate floor.

President Trump signed the budget deal Friday morning, ending the second brief government shutdown so far this year.

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