ABC News' Mary Bruce reports:
Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., unveiled today his five-year path to a balanced budget, leaving several federal agencies behind. Among the items on the cutting room floor are the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.
“There’s a lot of things in here that everybody could agree to, Republicans and Democrats, but nobody’s leading on the president’s side and on our side we felt we needed to put this forward to get the debate started, at the very least,” the freshman Senator explained at a Capitol Hill press conference this afternoon.
The proposal also calls for the repeal of “Obamacare,” but leaves entitlements untouched.
“There’s an argument for every federal program up here… Nobody’s coming up here asking me for money that’s not for a good reason. But the alternative is that we get into a point of financial disaster where nobody gets any money,” he said.
According to Paul, a Tea Party conservative, the proposal will bring spending to the “historic average since World War II” in just one year. He further claims the budget achieves a $19 billion surplus by FY2016 and will bring all non-military discretionary spending back to FY2008 levels.
Paul’s proposal gained support from freshman Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, who today challenged anyone who opposes the plan to come up with a better option.
“There may be some in this town who will disagree with the manner in which we’re proposing moving toward a balanced budget over a five year period. That’s fine, that’s understandable, that’s what this town is about... but to those who may disagree with it, to those who might want to attack it. I would ask that they come up with their own five year plan,” he said at the press conference.
As for the sweeping cuts, South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint said balancing the budget requires “letting things go” back to the state level.
“There are functions and departments at the federal level that need to be devolved to the states. Part of balancing the budget is restructuring and devolving federal functions back the states, local communities and people,” he said.
DeMint said he did not agree with “every particular thing in here,” but stressed the importance of balancing the budget.