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Rand Paul worries GOP isn’t ‘brave enough’ to balance budget

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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‘This is not about tweets!’ GOP lawmaker deflects wildly when asked about Trump’s attacks on Yovanovitch

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Friday was not happy to be asked about President Donald Trump's tweets attacking former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

During a press conference that occurred after the day's impeachment hearings, Stefanik tried to make the case that nothing in Yovanovitch's testimony provided any reason to impeach the president.

She was thrown off her game, however, when a reporter asked her whether the president's tweet harmed her party's ability to send a consistent message.

"We're not here to talk about tweets but impeachable offenses!" she angrily replied. "Let me answer your question. These hearings are not about tweets. They are about impeachment of the president of United States. This is a constitutional matter."

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‘I demand to speak!’ Republican bursts into anger over Adam Schiff’s closing remarks

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Republican Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) was not pleased that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) got the last word at the second public impeachment hearing on Friday.

During his closing remarks, Schiff said Trump had engaged in "an effort to coerce, condition or bribe a foreign country into doing [his] dirty work."

"The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery. Doesn’t make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it was unsuccessful. And to that we owe other dedicated public servants who blew the whistle. Had they not blown the whistle we wouldn’t be here and I think it is appalling that my colleagues continue to want to out this whistleblower so that he or she can be punished by this president," Schiff said.

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‘I’m sorry — is there a question there?’ Yovanovitch snaps back at Jim Jordan’s jumbled posturing

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As questioning of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch resumed on the second day of the House's public hearing in their impeachment inquiry, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to suggest that there was a culture of anti-Trump sentiment amongst elements of the Ukrainian government and its US envoys.

Jordan then questioned Yovanovitch as to why she didn't try to intervene to make the environment less politicized.

"One of the things we've heard so much over the last six weeks in depositions, and frankly in the hearing on Wednesday, is how important bipartisan support is for Ukraine," Jordan said addressing Yovanovitch. "Democrats and Republicans agree they want to help Ukraine, in fact, [Ambassador Bill Taylor] said, 'Ukraine's most strategic asset is this bipartisan support...'"

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