Rand Paul calls for Trump veto of coronavirus relief, mocks GOP colleagues for 'socialist spending'

Rand Paul slams ‘bunch of socialist spending’ in coronavirus relief bill

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argues Senate Republicans who voted for the bill are ‘no better than the Democrats,’ calls on Americans to ‘elect better people.’

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., continued to assail the new coronavirus relief package on Wednesday, blasting "jokers" in Washington who never agree to replace wasteful spending and calling former President Obama comparatively conservative to some of his Republican colleagues.

Paul told "Fox & Friends" he would support President Trump vetoing the newly passed $2.3 trillion package in coronavirus relief and government funding. However, he said he opposed Trump on handing out "free money" to people in the form of direct checks for $2,000, which the president called for Tuesday night.

Most working Americans didn't need the money, Paul said, although he would support extending unemployment benefits.

"President Obama is now a conservative when it comes to stimulus because his unemployment didn't juice it up. He just extended it," Paul said. "Cash payments is a ridiculous, terrible, foolish, no-good idea, because you're just printing out money to give to people … It's going to ruin the value of our currency ultimately."

In a video address Tuesday, Trump railed against the $900 billion coronavirus bill that currently includes $600 payments to most Americans. Congress easily passed it Monday along with a $1.4 billion omnibus spending package to fund the government through September. Originally expected to sign it, Trump's criticism has raised the possibility of another government shutdown.

Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus during the financial crisis in 2009, which did not include direct payments to Americans.

Paul said he shared Trump's frustrations about what he viewed as unnecessary spending in the new bill, but he feared Trump's call for larger direct payments would be added to other pork, not take its place. 

"If it were an either/or, it would be a little bit of a different situation, but I can tell you from experience in Washington, these jokers never replace spending," he said. "They'll never do the responsible thing and exchange wasteful spending for useful spending."

In a Senate floor speech Monday night, Paul called Republicans who supported the massive bill no better than the socialists they criticize. Other Republicans who opposed the bill also hammered the rushed process and the enormous size of the legislation at nearly 6,000 pages. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., were the only House Democrats to vote the bill down.

"The people in Washington run as conservatives," Paul said, mocking Republicans who took spending and debt seriously when Obama was in the White House.

"They're always talking about socialism, and so am I, but that bill yesterday was a bunch of socialist spending, and if you voted for it, you're no better than the Democrats … The people in Washington are bankrupting us, both parties."

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Paul rolled out his annual "Festivus" list of grievances this week with what he viewed as the government's wasteful spending. The isolationist lawmaker took particular exception to billions in foreign aid, where he has an ally in Trump. He also spotlighted humourous items like $1.5 million spent to study lizards walking on treadmills.

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