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Rand Paul: The only way we recover is if we 'open the economy up'

Paul objects to the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday released his annual Festivus report, highlighting $54 billion in what he characterized as "truly outlandish waste in government."

Paul, who recently savaged his Republican colleagues for voting for the $2.3 trillion omnibus spending bill and coronavirus stimulus package, was interviewed on Fox News Wednesday about his opposition to the bill. He criticized both parties for bankrupting the United States with reckless spending and said that the only way the economy can recover from the coronavirus pandemic is if state governments permit businesses to open up and let people go back to work.

"The bottom line is the only way we recover this economy is we've got to open the economy up," Paul said. "Unemployment is actually lower than it was during most of President Obama's term, so we really can recover. But we've got to get these governors out of the way of our restaurants and our bars and our venues. We've got to get the economy opened up, it's the only way we survive this."

On Monday, Congress approved a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that provided $166 billion in direct $600 checks to every American making up to $75,000. The bill also includes $120 billion in extended weekly $300 unemployment benefits and $325 billion in new Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses, in addition to billions more in spending on other coronavirus-related issues. But congressional leadership in both parties tied that stimulus package to a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that has faced intense scrutiny from the public and from its opponents, like Paul, who question why Congress is spending money on things like Pakistani "gender programs" or climate monitoring in Tibet.

Paul, who voted against the bill along with a handful of conservative Senate Republicans, was asked if he could support the coronavirus stimulus package if the other spending he considers wasteful was removed.

"These jokers never replace spending," Paul complained.

"They'll never do the responsible thing and exchange wasteful spending for useful spending," he added, before explaining why the current crop of United States senators is not up to the task of reducing spending.

"The thing is you need better people. There was only six or seven of us who opposed this smorgasbord debt, but if you ask the American people should we spend money we don't have? Should we run a balanced budget? I'll bet you 75% of Republicans will tell you they'd rather have conservatives in Washington," Paul said.

"The people in Washington run as conservatives. Like, when President Obama was in power they said it was terrible, the spending and the debt and all this. And now they're no better," he continued.

"That bill yesterday was a bunch of socialist spending, and if you voted for it you're no better than the Democrats. And so that's the problem we have, people need to get involved in primaries and elect better people."

Sen. Rand Paul Slams Reckless Spending, Talks Festivus - Dec. 23, 2020 www.youtube.com

After discussing the coronavirus stimulus, the Fox News panel asked Paul about his annual Festivus report. Each year, Paul releases a summary of how Congress wasted taxpayer dollars, for example spending $10 million on botched COVID-19 test tubes or spending $2 million on a study to find out if using a hot tub lowers stress.

In a Twitter thread, Paul highlighted some of the most egregious examples of government waste:

One last thing…
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