Senator decries US aid to Israel as ‘welfare’
WASHINGTON – Tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said in an interview published Friday that the GOP’s proposed budget cuts were inadequate and fretted that his party may not have the courage to make a dent in the deficit.
“It’s really not going to touch the problem,” Paul told ABC News‘s Jonathan Karl. “There’s a disconnect between Republicans who want a balanced budget but aren’t maybe yet brave enough to talk about the cuts to come.”
The Republican budget proposed Thursday offers $32 billion in spending cuts from a resolution funding the government in fiscal 2011 — less than the party’s proclaimed $74 billion in cuts, and far short of GOP promises to remove $100 from the budget prior to the November elections.
Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), was elected to the Senate in November on a wave of tea party energy. Last week, he unveiled a plan of his own to slash spending by $500 billion, including drastic cuts to the Department of Education, minor defense cuts and the elimination of all foreign aid.
Even that, he told ABC, was not enough: “I go to a tea party and you know what they say to me? It’s not enough. It’s not enough. Where’s the other trillion you need?”
The Kentucky Republican defended his call to slash aid to Israel, calling the nation an “important ally” but saying the US simply doesn’t have the money.
“Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so,” he said.
Paul dismissed fears by Israel advocates that the Jewish state needs US support to continue defending itself from regional adversaries. “I think that their defense is very significant and probably well in advance of any of their particular enemies,” he said.
Mirroring his father’s reputation for going it alone, the younger Paul was the sole holdout on a 96-1 vote Thursday making it illegal to aim laser pointers at airplanes.