Sen. Rand Paul explains why he's a 'no' on spending bill

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 18, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, "YOUR WORLD" HOST: All right, if you're keeping up with this spending drama on Capitol Hill, and will we see the government go out of business technically late Friday night or not, we are expecting the House to vote on an interim spending measure to prevent that from happening.

It's very, very dicey in the United States Senate, where we're told -- and Democrats are already crowing about the reality that votes are simply not there.

And it's not only the number of no votes on their side, but the number of no votes on the Republican side, including this prominent one, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.

Senator, good to have you.


CAVUTO: So, you're a no on this. Why?

PAUL: Well, you know, I think government spends too much money. Our debt this year or our deficit this year will be close to $800 billion.

Next year, it's projected to be a trillion. So, for decades now, you have heard of Congress putting spending caps in place, self-imposed rules to try to get spending under control.

Well, this spending bill will exceed those caps. One of the caps were called pay-go caps. And we put them in a place a dozen years ago. And I think we have exceeded them, I don't know, 700 times, 29 times in the last couple years.

So, really, if we say we're fiscally conservative, we ought to be fiscally conservative. So I'm just not voting to exceed the spending caps, and I'm not voting for $700 billion deficits annually.

CAVUTO: All right.

So whatever the House measure ultimately proves to be, they're working on one, I'm told, that would be for as few as five days, you just don't like the back and forth on it?

PAUL: Well, it's a terrible way to run your government. They call it continuing resolutions.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAUL: And to me, that means continuing an abdication of our duty to actually spend the money department by department.

So, we have 12 different departments of government. They have appropriation bills. We have done that four times in 40 years. It's fiscally irresponsible to glom it all together and say, oh, my hair is on fire, there's a deadline, we have to just vote for it.

So, examples of waste that I point to -- and I will give you one real quickly. Neil Armstrong, they spent $700,000 trying to determine whether he said one small step for man or one small step for a man, $700,000 spent on that ridiculous, ridiculous idea of research.

That stuff goes on year after year after year. It never goes away, because no one takes the time to specifically look at the money spent. It's glommed together in trillion-dollar bills. And, frankly, I have had enough of it. And I think the American people have had enough with it.

If that means that we have got to close the place down and restart it under better management, I'm all for that.

CAVUTO: Do we know what it was with Neil Armstrong, by the way, for that 700 grand, a man, man?

PAUL: You know what their conclusion was, Neil? They still don't know.


PAUL: Inquiring minds want to know. They still don't know.

CAVUTO: They don't know, bottom line.

PAUL: And do you know what makes it even worse? They took the money from autism research. So, every person with a child with autism in America ought to be pissed off at their government that they spent it trying to figure out what Neil Armstrong said on the moon. What an insult.

CAVUTO: Where do you think this is going? Because Republicans, as you know, being the party that has the run of the table in Washington, they're going to get fingered. You will get fingered for this. What do you think?

PAUL: I'm concerned about doing what is right, not about which party wins this, because, frankly, this particular time, I will vote with more Democrats. Yesterday, I voted with more Democrats to try to protect American privacy from intelligence agencies snooping in your phone calls.

I don't care which party presents it, frankly. I am who I am. I said who I was. I'm not for debt. I'm not for higher taxes. I'm for smaller government and I'm for more American privacy. And I'm just going to vote whichever way that falls. But it really isn't, for me, a partisan issue.

CAVUTO: What do you think of the way the president is trying to handle this and his role in that? Some have said he gave mixed signals, for example, on the child health credit thing, but that that should be maybe a separate measure, that he's confusing them.

What do you say?

PAUL: All of these things should be separate measures. There's 12 different departments of government. We should pass them one at a time.

There should be a defense appropriation. There should be a childhood health -- a CHIP program appropriation or a Medicaid appropriation. They all should be separate and we should look at them.

We should look at the food stamp program and find out, is it going for food? Is a soft drink food? There's all kinds of things we should look at in our spending. But it's all glommed together in one bill that no one could possibly conceive of a trillion dollars and how we're spending it.

It's all in one bill. There will be reform. It's a terrible, rotten, no- good way to run your government, and I want no part of it. And I wish there were more people standing up. And I think there's people at home saying -- shaking their heads, saying, we spent $700,000 trying to find out what Neil Armstrong said on the moon 35 years ago.

That's the kind of craziness that is going on in government. I can give you 20 more examples. How many more minutes do I have?


CAVUTO: Let me get your take on the dust-up earlier about the president and his doctor and everything else, and whether the pressure of the job, the people who are asking in a press conference whether he's even up to the job and whether he's snapping or he's mentally not up to it.

What did you think of that back and forth?

PAUL: It's, I think, a low day and a bad day for the media to see kibitz about what the president's weight is. Is he really 6'3'' or maybe he's 6'2''?

I mean, how ridiculous are people? And the thing is, is that we could have meaningful debates in our country. And everybody is like criticizing this and that. And it's like, we had a debate over the Fourth Amendment from the Bill of Rights going all the way back to John Adams and James Otis. We had an important debate.

And people were wondering about the president's weight. Did and he take a Mensa test? Is he a genius? All of this ridiculous tabloid trash.

And we had a meaningful debate over the Bill of Rights, and very few of America noticed it, because you have got networks that were so obsessed with his weight and his height.

CAVUTO: Your take on where this whole battle is going, because it's blurring the positive developments of the tax cut and companies that seem to be delivering the goods beyond just rewarding their shareholders, Apple the latest. Are you surprised by all of that?

PAUL: I think there's an amazing story here.

And no matter how bad the media is covering it, a lot of people are going to get increases in their checks. Two million people now have had an increase in their take-home pay because of the tax cut that Republicans passed. I think it's going to be hard the hide it.

I think some in the media who want to help the Democrats, they don't want to talk about the tax cut. Two million people getting more in their paycheck. People's wages going from a starting wage at Wal-Mart from $9 to $11, many companies going to $15 an hour, hundreds of thousands of workers with bonuses. Apple bringing home $350 billion.

Talking about 20,000 new jobs with Apple. Paying $38 billion in taxes? There's so many good stories out here. But we are somewhat distracted talking about other things other than policy.

But I think you can't -- the people who work and look at their pay stub will not be able to escape that they're going to get more money.

CAVUTO: Senator Rand Paul, thank you. Very good seeing you again.

PAUL: Thanks, Neil.


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