Senator Rand Paul’s office has announced, “There doesn’t need to be a shutdown in order for us to address the spending problem.” In a press release dated Thursday the 7th, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011.” The bill’s intended purpose is to make sure that essential government services continue in the absence of the passage of a spending bill. According to the release, “The bill is intended as a permanent rule to follow for the current and all future cases where Congress does not enact a budget or continuing resolution.”
Senator Paul says, “In my bill, we keep obligations made to our military personnel, seniors, children, and federal workers maintain an adequate level of pay, but Members of Congress and the President do not get paid unless they actually work out a resolution.”
Here are some key provisions of Senator Paul’s Shutdown Prevention Act: “The Treasury is directed to fully pay the debt of the United States and all of its prior obligations in full.” Take a look at the debt of the United States and the first thing you will notice is that it is not a number, it is a function. The Treasury would have to have more than $55T cash on hand, but then it is the US Treasury, it can always print more money.
Medicare and Medicaid continue to pay in full. Emergency war funding is continued at current levels and the Department of Defense will “send out paychecks to all military personnel at the full level of pay.” Civilian DoD employees, however, only get “the same 75 percent rate of other federal employees,” who also take a 25% hit. At least they all will have jobs to report to, under the Paul Plan.
Meanwhile, “Congress and the White House may only operate at 50 percent of its previously appropriated levels for the time worked under these provisions.” The White House presumably refers to the Executive Branch of government. But that is not all, “Congressmen, Senators, and the President do not receive a salary during the emergency.”
Other than the bit about the Treasury paying the US debt, it’s so far so good. But the Paul Shutdown Prevention Act starts to get dicey towards the end.
“The Executive Branch is directed to provide no funding for any program created by Obamacare.” Since Senator Paul is new to his job in the Senate, he may be unaware that the Executive Branch does not fund anything. That is why under his proposed bill the Executive Branch being “directed to expend no federal funds to provide abortion services, or to agencies who provide abortion services” is not doable.
Senator Paul’s sincerity comes into question if he honestly thinks he has come up with something that breaches the present legislative gap congress suffers. Such a bill is poorly thought out, if we are to believe the press release on his website. It has no chance for passage given the Democratic majority in the Senate and is at best a rhetorical device to get attention. I would expect something like this from Sarah Palin, but not from an actual elected member of the Senate.