GLENN: Here is Rand Paul on Tuesday, talking about the G.O.P.
RAND: I think the biggest holdup is not people like me. I want a big, big variable tax cut. I'm for the bigger the better. And I will settle for less than I want. But I do want the biggest. And I will agitate to make sure that everybody across-the-board gets a tax cut. I think the problem really is on the other side. There are three or four people that don't want this to be a tax cut at all. They want it to be exactly revenue neutral, meaning that we will cut taxes on half the people and we will raise taxes on the other half to make it neutral.
I've always been a believer that you make it deficit neutral, by not raising other people's taxes, but by cutting spending.
So I have many entitlement reform bills that are out there. I can't get a Republican to sign on, because they give lip service to smaller government, but they're afraid of their shadow. And not a damn one of them really are for cutting spending.
GLENN: Rand Paul joins us now. Hello, Rand, how are you, sir?
RAND: Good morning, Glenn. Yeah, they got me kind of worked up on this. I'm kind of annoyed that Republicans forgot what it's like to be conservative. And they put things through that they have no intention of doing. So, yeah, I'm riled up.
I mean, it used to be there were some conservatives who believed that we should try to restrain spending. We capped it. We put these self-imposed restraints. And we exceed them all the time.
So we got Lindsey Graham and John McCain have now spent nearly $2 trillion off budget, and they're insisting on more. They will not put it on budget. It exceeds the spending caps. It's a game. It's a charade. And Lindsey Graham and John McCain are bankrupting our country. We have a $20 trillion debt. It's the biggest threat to our national security. And thank John McCain and Lindsey Graham for doing it.
GLENN: So help me out on this. There's no one in the Senate or the House -- there's -- I mean, is there a group of you guys that are standing together?
RAND: I think there has been in the past. And I think what they've been sold is a bill of goods by leadership that, oh, it doesn't matter anymore what's in the budget. It's toilet paper. It's basically, the budget is just a vehicle for doing Obamacare repeal. Well, then they didn't repeal Obamacare, because we lost like six or seven Republicans who said they were for repeal, and then they changed their mind. So now they say, oh, the budget doesn't matter. Well, the budget is what we stand for. It's like our platform. It's like saying, well, we don't care what's in our platform. Why don't we put that we're for single-payer in our platform, because it doesn't matter what's in our platform. No, it matters. It's what the Republican Party stands for. And what I'm so upset about, is that the Republican Party -- we're turning out to be a bunch of hypocrites who say we care about the debt. Yet the debt gets bigger and bigger under us.
GLENN: Yeah, you've already pointed this out, it's not only the debt. It's small government. It's constitutional principles. It's, you know, freedom of the press.
So what is the future of the Republican Party?
RAND: Well, I'm going to give them a chance to vote on a couple of things. But I can tell you I'm getting pressure and my arm twisted not to introduce any amendments to the budget. But I'm going to introduce my First Amendment will be this, there's $43 billion in it that's above the spending caps that's put in an account that is immune to any kind of surveillance. The account that spent 2 trillion, the overseas contingency account.
GLENN: Wait. What does that mean? Where does that money go? What is that money?
RAND: Starting 15 years ago, we started saying, you know what, we're at war, but we're not going to account for the money. We're not going to appropriate it, as we should through the defense budget. We're just going to put it into an account that exceeds all the caps, and then we're going to pretend like we're fiscally conservative. And the liberals said, well, you can do that, but then you got to give us more emergency money for welfare. So we got the welfare and the warfare crowd coming together.
GLENN: My gosh.
RAND: Look, George Bush -- the debt went from 5 trillion to 10 trillion under George W. Bush. Under Obama, it went from ten to 20 trillion. And now we're going to do it again because Republicans are not serious and honest about really wanting to cut spending. So in the budget, in the first year of this budget -- this is a good thing -- there's a $96 billion entitlement cut. And I asked them: Okay. Who has the bill that does that? Which committee is studying entitlement reform? There is no bill. There is no one studying it. And there is absolutely no intention of doing it. So I'm going to introduce an amendment to --
GLENN: Wait. Wait. Wait. You're moving too fast. Wait.
So they said that they were going to cut, but then they took no action after they passed that?
RAND: Well, it hadn't passed yet. This is going to be voted on today. But my point is, why don't we have budget reconciliation instructions? These are the instructions that through simple majority, we can do entitlement reform. There's nothing stopping us. Just our will. So I'm going to give them a chance today. I'm going to put an amendment forward today, that says, to a simple majority, through the budget process, we can do entitlement reform.
And you know what's going to be fun to watch? To watch them squirm. Because I guarantee all of leadership will vote no. And most of the Republicans will vote against doing entitlement reform. I'm also going to give them the chance to vote on Obamacare again. I guarantee, most of them will vote against, considering instructions to do Obamacare repeal. Then I'm going to try to cut the money that they've put in that's above the spending caps. And I will lose probably overwhelmingly because Republicans are not serious. And basically, they are hypocrites.
They say they want to cut spending. They go home, and they say they have a problem with the debt. And the debt gets worse under Republicans because they're not serious.
GLENN: So this to me sounds like a -- gauntlet being thrown down at the foot. What is the if not, then?
RAND: I think what happens is they're going to get their budget through. Because I'm the sole and only voice that says, we should stay within the spending caps. So I don't have anyone else to join me. But I'm going to raise hell doing it anyway.
GLENN: You can't get Mike Lee to even help you on this?
RAND: You have to ask him on that.
GLENN: Okay. I will.
RAND: The thing is, is that, I'm going to stay where I am. Because the thing is, is, look, they tell me that the budget means nothing. They tell me it's a piece of toilet paper, and it doesn't mean anything. It's just a vehicle for tax reform. And I say, well, if it doesn't mean anything, why don't you let me put into it a conservative vision that we shouldn't spend too much money? Why don't we put that in the budget?
And they say, oh, no. We can't change it. Because John McCain and Lindsey Graham want unlimited military spending. And I say, well, that's bankrupting us as well, because then the liberals come back and want unlimited welfare spending. And so they say, we can't give -- there's more of those who want unlimited spending than there are conservatives.
If I had one or two other persons, two other senators to stand with me, we could dictate what's in the budget. But they refuse to do it.
GLENN: Okay. Who is most likely to help you? And we can have the audience to call them.
RAND: Right now, there isn't anyone. And so that's the problem. And that's a sad fact is that nobody cares about the budget. Nobody cares about the debt. And we're just going to do this to get to a tax cut.
And, look, I'm all in on the tax cut. The bigger, the better.
I told the president this weekend, I will vote for the biggest tax cut that comes down. I will also vote for the small one. But I am all in on the tax cuts. But just I can't just give up on being a conservative and say, oh, I'm not for spending cuts. That's my whole principle, is the way we would balance a tax cut is with spending cuts. We're not going to do the spending cuts, then we're just dishonest.
GLENN: Yeah. In fact, the Roaring Twenties was caused by the spending cuts and the tax cuts second. It's the way it should be done.
Let me go to -- let me go to health care. It was amazing to see you standing behind the president as he signed -- I hate to describe it as an executive order because it was just a clarification of the law, that allowed people to buy insurance in ways they had never been allowed to buy before. And the reason why it was amazing is because you and people like you were the biggest enemy of Donald Trump, according to his side. You know, it was the Freedom Caucus and the -- and the small government constitutionalists that were causing all the problems. And in the end, you were the only one that could get anything done.
RAND: This is going to be bigger than many people imagine. There's up to 50 million people in our country who could possibly get insurance through health associations. Some of these are pretty big. National Restaurant Association has a couple of million restaurants. Fifteen million employees.
Can you imagine if you worked at McDonald's and right now you have no insurance, but then they said, oh, you can join to be part of a 15-million person group insurance plan, and you're going to be able to get the leverage of having 15 million people to tell big insurance that they're going to have to come down on their prices? This would be an amazing thing. There's 28 million people right now under Obamacare, who don't have insurance.
I think this allowing individuals to join groups could potentially help a lot of that 28 million. There's 11 million people in the Obamacare individual market. Many of them have had 100 percent increase in their premiums. This is a good chance of letting them get insurance that isn't so expensive.
GLENN: Now, how long does it take for these -- like the Restaurant Association to be able to do it? Are they motivated to do it?
RAND: Well, I think they are. A lot of the associations are excited. The realtors, the retailers, the franchisees, a lot of them are excited by it. Unfortunately, the government is so damn slow.
So the regulations probably won't come out for a couple of months. When they do, it will be too late for 2018. Because people buy their insurance in 2017, for 2018. So, really, we're looking at unfortunately 2019. But we have to do this kind of stuff. We have to allow more people to have freedom. And on whether or not it's executive order, I think it's important to know that an executive order that undoes -- an executive order that was overreach is a good thing. So I think you have a natural right, a natural liberty to associate.
And the Supreme Court has upheld this several times. You have right to peaceable assembly. But you also have the right to associate for economic means, and the Supreme Court has upheld that too. So if you and I want to get together and in association to get purchasing power, I think there's actually a First Amendment protection of that.
Either way, what President Trump has done, is looked at the original health care law from the '70s, read it closely, and said, guess what, the regulators of Clinton, Bush, and Obama got it wrong. We're rereading the bill, the original bill, and this is the interpretation we think is most consistent with the bill. I think as long as that's allowing freedom and not creating a new government program, but allowing you the freedom to buy something, I think that is an appropriate use.
GLENN: So quickly, I've only got about a minute and a half left. Let me play this audio and get your reaction. This is testimony from Jeff Sessions yesterday.
VOICE: And I'll ask the same question, will you commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs?
JEFF: Well, I don't know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect. But I would say this, we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point.
GLENN: So it's a pretty easy answer for me. How would you have answered that, Rand?
RAND: My answer to his answer is, oh, my God. I can't believe that was his answer. No. Nobody is going to jail. Nobody in the press should go to the jail.
In fact, the thing about the First Amendment is it protects all speech, even offensive speech. And probably most particularly offensive speech, because good speech, nobody complains about.
If I tell you I loved Glenn Beck, you're not going to want to censor that. If I say something mean, that's what people want to censor. But you have to have dissent and criticism in a free society. My goodness, if you can't defend the First Amendment, where are we?
GLENN: Right. Right.
It is terrifying the road that we're on. And, Rand, I appreciate all your hard work and the hard stances that you take. And I'm sure you get a lot of -- a lot of trouble on Capitol Hill and maybe some trouble back home. But we're a fan. Thank you so much for your hard work.
RAND: You bet. Buh-bye.
GLENN: You bet. Rand Paul.
See if we can get a hold of Mike Lee. Ted Cruz. Ben Sasse. See if we can get any of them to go on the record of why they won't stand with him on this. I can't believe there's nobody in the Senate. But, you know.