During recent deliberations over a plan to raise the nation’s debt limit as needed for the federal government to legally accommodate expenses to which it was already committed, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) presented an alternative plan that was rejected by the Senate. A full 75 Senators in the 100-member chamber voted against it.
In short, the plan from the prominent red-state Republican would have imposed evidently more drastic cuts to government spending. Democrats had wanted to just raise the debt limit without the accompanying legislative initiatives attached, but Republicans refused and eventually largely settled on a deal to include at least some limited version of their priorities, which wasn’t enough for Paul. Among other changes, Paul’s plan would have increased the debt ceiling by $500 billion instead of increasing it for apparently whatever is needed through early 2025. The plan also contained limits on total budgeted expenditures — evidently including both discretionary and non-discretionary spending, which are two categories handled differently.
Social benefit programs are generally considered non-discretionary spending, and in putting essentially nearly everything on the rhetorical chopping block, who knows what could have taken the eventual hit. No Democrats or Democratic Party-aligned Senators voted for Paul’s plan, which a press release from the Senator claimed wouldn’t directly affect Social Security — although not directly impacting the program is different from actively protecting it. Republicans like Marsha Blackburn, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio, and Tommy Tuberville backed the Senator’s debt and spending plan.
The president has now signed the plan passed by Congress to raise the debt limit. In the House, more Democrats than Republicans actually voted for the whole initiative, which it was Republicans’ own machinations that even made be a thing at all. Even what they managed to squeeze from the process wasn’t enough for some. Republicans who opposed the underlying deal in the House included many prominent names, like Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Kat Cammack, Eli Crane, Byron Donalds, Victoria Spartz, and even lying New Yorker George Santos!