Whether it’s the $2.2 trillion bill pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., or the $500 billion plan put forward by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Kentucky’s junior senator doesn’t have to think twice before deciding where he stands on more pandemic relief from the federal government.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, said Friday in a telephone interview: “It would be a mistake to do more. It would endanger the foundation of our country.”
Paul noted the federal government’s national debt has already ballooned to $27 trillion.
“I’m concerned because there’s no money to give people,” Paul said. “Basically, we would have to borrow it.”
Citing the low mortality rate of COVID-19 among young people, Paul said his answer to recovering economically from the pandemic is to “protect the most vulnerable” and remove obstacles to economic growth.
“I want to get (Kentucky Gov.) Andy Beshear out of the way and open up businesses and restaurants,” said Paul, who is serving his second term in the Senate.
Paul, who didn’t cast a vote on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that passed in March, is eager to vote on another important issue expected to come before the full Senate on Monday: the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
“I met with her, and I’m impressed with her intellect and her body of work,” the senator said. “I don’t think she has an agenda, and I believe she will try cases based on the law and the Constitution.”
Paul said Barrett’s presence on the high court would make it more conservative, to the chagrin of most Democrats. He hopes that disappointment doesn’t lead the opposition party to follow through on a much-discussed strategy of adding justices to the Supreme Court, or “packing” it.
“I’m surprised that (Democratic presidential nominee Joe) Biden hasn’t taken that off the table,” Paul said. “I hope we don’t open that Pandora’s Box.
“If the Democrats win in November and add seats to the Supreme Court, then the Republicans will want to do the same thing when they’re back in power,” he said. “We could end up with 90 people on the Supreme Court.”
That battle over the federal judiciary could change dramatically if Biden defeats President Donald Trump in November and the Democrats gain a majority in the Senate.
Paul, who said he plans to run for a third term in 2022, is ready for whatever outcome this year’s election brings.
“I support the president, but sometimes I vote against him,” Paul said. “I’ve tried to work with both sides. When (Barack) Obama was in the White House, I was cordial and respectful and worked on many issues that crossed party labels.
“I want President Trump to win, but I can work with Biden on many issues.”