Sen. Rand Paul criticizes GOP "hypocrisy" on debt, deficits

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is slamming members of his party for being "hypocritical" for passing both tax cuts and spending increases. Paul's comments on CBS News' "Face the Nation" come just days after President Trump signed a $400 billion budget deal, ending a brief federal government shutdown on Friday that came after Paul held up a key vote in the Senate.

"I think if you're for tax cuts and for increasing spending that's hypocritical. But if you're for tax cuts and you're also for cutting spending a corresponding amount -- see, I would offset the tax cuts with spending cuts, and there are a few of us that would actually do that," said Paul on Sunday. 

Paul voted for the tax cut package last year that experts said would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

"I voted for the tax cuts and I voted for spending cuts. The people who voted for tax cuts and spending increases -- I think there is some hypocrisy there and it shows they're not serious about the debt," he added.

Paul, who was instrumental in derailing Senate leaders' plan to drive the budget agreement quickly through the Senate by repeatedly blocking a Thursday vote, says he thinks lawmakers should "draw attention to the fact that we're spending so much money."

"I'm still against deficit spending just because Republicans are doing it doesn't make it any better."

The budget agreement reached between Republicans and Democrats is married to a six-week temporary funding bill needed to keep the government operating and provide time to implement the budget pact. Paul held up the vote late Thursday for as long as he was able to under Senate rules. 

Once Paul's time was up, the measure, backed by the Senate's top leaders, sailed through the chamber by a 71-28 vote. The House approved the legislation with a 240-186 vote hours after the Senate OK'd the deal.

Paul told CBS News' Major Garrett on Sunday that he's "very worried" about military spending increases. The budget deal raises the spending caps on defense and domestic spending by $300 billion over the next two years.

"I think one of the questions the Republicans, I think, are not willing to ask themselves is, can you be fiscally conservative and be for unlimited military spending?" said Paul. 

The president hailed the boost in military spending on Friday, tweeting, "Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more."

But Paul said Republicans are "unwilling to confront that they want more, more, more for military spending and so to get that they have to give the Democrats what they want, which is more and more and more for domestic spending. "

The senator said while some welcomed the bipartisan agreement reached between the two parties, he said it's "exploding the deficit."

"I'm not so sure that's the kind of bipartisanship we need," he added.

Paul also took issue with the military's mission abroad, saying it's "beyond what we need to be."

"We're actively in war in about seven countries, and yet the Congress hasn't voted on declaring or authorizing the use of military force in over 15 years now," Paul said.

He added, pointing to the war in Afghanistan, "We're spending 50 billion dollars a year. And if the president really is serious about infrastructure, a lot of that money could be spent at home. Instead of building bridges and schools and roads in Afghanistan or in Pakistan."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital