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Sen. Paul unveils 'conservative alternative' to Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling agreement: 'Bold actions must be taken'

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that he will introduce the "conservative alternative" to the debt ceiling agreement reached by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

What are the details?

Like other Republicans, Paul believes that McCarthy made significant concessions that essentially kick the can down the road and do not solve the problem of government spending.

Paul, therefore, said he will propose an amendment to the so-called "Fiscal Responsibility Act" that would raise the debt ceiling only $500 billion in order to return to the negotiating table. His proposal thus solves the immediate problem of the U.S. potentially defaulting on its debt while seeking to address the larger problem of out-of-control government spending.

In a statement, Paul cited a CNN poll that showed a majority of Americans support raising the debt ceiling only with simultaneous cuts in government spending.

"I would guess the Americans answering that poll meant real cuts in spending, not an annual increase of one percent above already bloated levels of COVID-19 spending," Paul quipped. "Bold actions must be taken to defeat our mounting national debt, and my conservative alternative to the Biden-McCarthy deal gives us a real opportunity to get our fiscal house in order."

That bold action includes replacing "the caps on discretionary spending with caps on total spending" while instituting a cut of 5% in spending each year. The plan would cut $1.2 trillion in government spending by fiscal year 2028.

What are other Republicans saying?

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), an otherwise moderate Republican, also condemned the debt ceiling agreement on Tuesday in a damning Twitter thread.

Among other problems, Mace said the agreement "normalizes record high spending started during the pandemic" and "doesn't actually set a debt limit."

"Fully funds every spending request by the Administration (pretty much)," she added. "Washington is, was and always will be lousy at responsibly spending your tax dollars. That won’t change unless we demand change."

The House Freedom Caucus, meanwhile, is irate.

On Tuesday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) accused McCarthy of a "betrayal of the power sharing arrangement that we put in place" while other members of the caucus suggested they may try to oust McCarthy, Politico reported.

With moderate and conservative Republicans alike upset — and progressive Democrats upset on the other side of the aisle — one has to wonder whether the deal will be made law before the June 5 deadline.

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