Rand Paul: Coronavirus spending moving U.S. 'closer to a point of no return'
"Our annual deficit this year will approach $4 trillion. We can't continue on this course,” Paul said on the Senate floor
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the federal government’s coronavirus stimulus spending is moving the U.S. “closer to a point of no return.”
“Our only hope of rescuing this great country is to reopen the economy. If you print up billions of dollars and give it to people, they're unlikely to spend it until you end the quarantine,” Paul said on the Senate floor before the passage of a $500 billion interim coronavirus spending bill.
“The gargantuan federal bailout that just passed over $2 trillion brings us closer and closer to a point of no return, a point at which the world loses confidence in the dollar, a point at which our debt becomes an existential threat to our security,” he added.
Paul opposed the interim relief package, which included $500 billion for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program as well as increased funding for hospitals, states and local governments above the spending levels in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.
“Our annual deficit this year will approach $4 trillion. We can't continue on this course,” he said. “No amount of bailout dollars will stimulate an economy that is being strangled by quarantine. It is not a lack of money that plagues us but a lack of commerce. This economic calamity only resolves when we begin to open the economy.”
Paul added that the U.S. was "already borrowing nearly $2 million every minute” before the pandemic.
“With the recent $2 trillion bailout, we are borrowing faster than we have ever borrowed before,” he said. “Had we practiced sound budgeting in the past, we would have been better, significantly better positioned to weather this storm.”
The Senate ultimately passed the interim package by a voice vote, despite Paul’s opposition.
Paul proposed a resolution on the Senate floor to permit remote voting on legislation during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Perhaps more alarming than allowing a president threatening to dissolve Congress is that Congress currently has allowed itself to become more of an oligarchy than an assembly,” he said. “A few members of the leadership are set to pass legislation, spending nearly a half a trillion dollars without any recorded vote or debate. Shouldn't someone shout stop?”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Paul’s resolution.