In a blistering speech on the floor of the Senate, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul condemned his fellow Republican senators who voted for the multitrillion-dollar coronavirus relief package and omnibus spending bills, accusing them of abandoning their "soul" and their "fiscal integrity" for the sake of political expediency.
Paul condemned the bill as an example of "modern monetary theory" that suggests that "government can spend whatever it wants without the need to tax." Paul said that his colleagues "rightly lampoon this quackery — that is, when they're not practicing the quackery themselves."
Senator Paul: Stop Piling Debt on Future Generations, Open the Economy, and Cut Waste in the Budgetwww.youtube.com
Continuing, Paul claimed, "To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better."
Pointing out that the government had no plan to raise revenue to pay for the bill Congress was about to pass, Paul went on to argue, "If free money was the answer ... if money really did grow on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000? Maybe these new Free-Money Republicans should join the Everybody-Gets-A-Guaranteed-Income Caucus? Why not $20,000 a year for everybody, why not $30,000? If we can print out money with impunity, why not do it?"
The spending bill ultimately passed the Senate by a vote of 91-6, with only five Republicans joining Paul to vote against the bill: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Ron Johnson (Wis.). The vote in the House was likewise overwhelming, with only 53 members — 50 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and 1 independent — voting "nay" on the final vote.
In addition to the sheer size of the spending bill, many Republicans strenuously objected to the fact that they were not even given the text of the bill with ample time to read it before voting on it. Reportedly due to delays with printers and technology, members of Congress were not provided with either a paper or a digital copy of the bill until almost literally the last minute. Among the "nay" votes in the Senate, Lee and Cruz specifically highlighted their inability to read the bill as a reason for voting against it.
1/4 This is the spending bill under consideration in Congress today. I received it just moments ago, and will like… https://t.co/kMIMC2fUng— Mike Lee (@Mike Lee) 1608585993.0
After noting the absurdity of being asked to vote on a bill that he hasn't been given time to read, Lee also noted that the process by which the bill was passed did not allow for any amendments or opportunities to improve the bill. In a thread on Twitter, Lee said, "This process, by which members of Congress are asked to defer blindly to legislation negotiated entirely in secret by four of their colleagues, must come to an end. It won't come to an end until no longer works for those empowered by it. That can happen, but only when most members of both houses and both political parties stop voting for bills they haven't read — and, by design, cannot read until after it's too late."
Cruz agreed, even specifically noting his agreement with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the issue:
.@AOC is right. It’s ABSURD to have a $2.5 trillion spending bill negotiated in secret and then—hours later—demand… https://t.co/14djAdirth— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1608577004.0
"AOC is right. It's ABSURD to have a $2.5 trillion spending bill negotiated in secret and then — hours later — demand an up-or-down vote on a bill nobody has had time to read. #CongressIsBroken," Cruz tweeted.