When freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was elected in 2010, he promised to cut federal spending.
It looks like he’s making good on his promise.
“The Kentucky Republican and tea-party favorite said Thursday he’s returning $500,000 to the U.S. Treasury -- money from his operating budget that his office never spent,” writes Scott Wong of Politico, and "he contends no senator has returned as much to taxpayers."
Watch the entire press conference via courier-journal.com:
U.S. Senators are appropriated $3 million a year for their office budgets and Sen. Paul has been able to save nearly 15 percent of his annual costs, according to WFLP News.
How does he do it? Some would say frugality.
“We look at all of our office expenses. We look at the coffee pot to the computers bought and we try to buy things as if it were our money we were spending, or your money that we were spending, and our goal is not to spend all of it, our goal is to save some of it,” Paul said.
If Congress offered incentives for lawmakers and staff to cut budgets, the U.S. could save $130 million annually, Paul added.
“I ran to stop the reckless spending. And I ran to end the damaging process of elected officials acting as errand boys, competing to see who could bring back the biggest check and the most amount of pork,” Paul said at a news conference in Louisville, where he presented taxpayers with a massive mock check for $500,000.
Image Courtesy: WFPL News
“I hope this sets an example for the rest of government – at all levels,” he added. “We can carry out our duties in a fiscally responsible way. Government can be both smart and efficient. We are proving that – and trying to convince the rest of Washington.”
As Business Insider rightly points out, critics of Sen. Rand Paul will probably denounce him for returning the $500,000 and attack him for not using the money "to create jobs," as Michael Brendan Dougherty of BI put it.
However, these criticisms will probably fall on deaf ears.
“Most American families have been forced to figure out how to do more with less, or how to do less altogether. It's nice to see a Senator joining us,” Dougherty writes.
Many would agree, and find this a very welcome change of pace.