Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is the author of a sweeping bill to cut $500 billion in domestic and defense spending - and Social Security is next up on the chopping block, the Tea Party freshman said Tuesday.
"Many here in official Washington think $500 billion is too dramatic," he said on FOX News. "When I go to a Tea Party, they say, ‘What about the other trillion dollars you're spending that you don't have?' The American people are ready for spending cuts."
Paul's proposal, which would be enacted over a year's time, slashes government funding to 2008 levels. Cuts in education, energy, and housing are among the top of the list - followed by proposals to slim down the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security.
"What we chose to do with this bill, is we address military spending, we did address domestic spending, but we wanted to prove to those in Washington and in America that you can cut $500 billion and not touch entitlements," he said.
But the freshman argues that even though many politicians fear the backlash that could result from overhauling Social Security, all Washington needs to tackle floundering entitlement programs is a little gusto. "We've already told them how to fix the budget this month. Next month, we're going to tell them how to fix social security, and you can fix social security," he said. "It's a matter of willpower."
Paul did not reveal the details of his social security plan, but said that it will make the mammoth entitlement program solvent for the next 75 years.
And there's a hint of frustration in the new senator's voice, after just over a month in office.
"The problem is the message of the grassroots has only been partially translated in Washington. Here in Washington, they think, ‘Oh, if I propose to reform social security, they will un-elect me. The opposite is true," he said. "If you will stand up in Washington and speak the truth, I think I can still be elected, and maybe by a wider margin. So I don't think it's a political handicap to be in favor of telling the truth."