Rand Paul UNLOADS On New Congressional Budget, Reminds What It Means To Be Conservative

Republican Senator Rand Paul quickly took to social media after congressional leadership, including House leaders Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, and Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, unveiled a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill.

The measure includes many facets supported by both parties and includes increased defense spending, increased border security and immigration enforcement, and money to combat the opioid crisis.

“Shame, shame,” the Kentucky Senator tweeted. “A pox on both Houses – and parties. $1.3 trillion. Busts budget caps. 2200 pages, with just hours to try to read it.”

“FYI- The 2200+ page, budget-busting Omnibus has been printing for two hours in my office and still isn’t done,” Paul added.

He later said, “Well here it is, all 2,232 budget-busting pages. The House already started votes on it. The Senate is expected to soon. No one has read it. Congress is broken.”

“I ran for office because I thought the Obama spending and trillion dollar annual deficits were a real problem for our country and now Republicans are doing the same thing,” Paul said, advocating fiscal conservativism.

Paul described the increased spending and the secretive deal-making process as “rotten, terrible, [and] no good way to run your government,” per McClatchy.

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“You have to know what’s in it,” the senator said. “Really, should we be looking at 1,000 page bills with 24 hours to decide what’s in them? It’s really not a good way to run your government.”

And, “That’s why I gave them a piece of my mind the last time around. I’m upset that we’re spending like every Democrat that we criticized. I’m giving them the same grief I gave Obama.”

The senator’s rant began on Wednesday, shortly after the reveal, when he tweeted, “It’s a good thing we have Republican control of Congress or the Democrats might bust the budget caps, fund planned parenthood and Obamacare, and sneak gun control without due process into an Omni…wait, what?”

Some other people on social media highlighted that while Planned Parenthood is being funded, several proposals like the construction of a new border wall are not:

Paul also expressed concern over the mere length of the spending bill, because, as he argued, many lawmakers would be unable to read the budget bill prior to having to vote on it.

The Kentucky Senator responded to a user online who tweeted about the length of the previous “omnibus” bill, “This is not how your government should be run.”

Here’s more, via Fox News:

The 2,232 page “omnibus” bill was made public hours after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., dashed through a Washington snowstorm to meet with President Trump at the White House amid concerns that Trump’s support for the package was wavering. The White House later said the president backed the legislation, even as some conservative Republicans balked at the size of the spending increases and the rush to pass the bill.

The powerful House Rules Committee was scheduled to meet later Wednesday to prepare the bill for debate in the full House. Leaders have said they hoped to start voting as soon as Thursday, but a stopgap measure may be needed to ensure federal offices remain open at midnight Friday when funding for the government expires.

The House Freedom Caucus recently came out against the bill and Paul shared their statement:

Another specific measure in the bill Paul is advocating against is the CLOUD Act, which allows foreign governments to demand data from United States companies:

“Congress should reject the CLOUD Act because it fails to protect human rights or Americans’ privacy…gives up their constitutional role, and gives far too much power to the attorney general, the secretary of state, the president and foreign governments,” he tweeted.

And, “But guess what? Congress can’t vote to reject the CLOUD Act, because it just got stuck onto the Omnibus, with no prior legislative action or review.”

Paul said the act grants too much power to officials in the State Department. Here’s more on the CLOUD Act, from the Hill:

Current U.S. law would help to protect against disclosure of information that is likely to be used to commit human rights abuses, like detention or torture. This is key given Turkey’s troubling human rights record. That’s because there is a robust process in place to ensure that the U.S. government only shares such information in cases where these requests have been closely vetted by the Department of Justice and a U.S. judge, who ensures that individuals’ rights are being protected.

But legislation is being introduced now that would allow countries’ to bypass these safeguards and give Attorney General Jeff Sessions and presumptive Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extensive and nearly unchecked power over global digital privacy rights.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, or CLOUD Act ,is a bill recently introduced to establish new standards for when governments want to obtain information stored outside their jurisdiction. The Department of Justice and major tech companies are actively supporting the bill, erroneously suggesting it will advance consumer rights. Meanwhile, privacy and human rights organizations that have opposed the bill are rightfully pointing out that it jettisons current human rights protections in favor of vague standards that could gut individual rights.

The bill would strip power away from Congress and the judicial branch, giving Sessions and Pompeo (and future executive branch officials) virtually unchecked authority to negotiate data exchange agreements with foreign nations, regardless of whether they respect human rights or not. That’s a major shift from current law, and one that Congress should reject.