In Frankfort, Rand Paul continues push for balanced federal budget

02/22/2011 02:51 PM

FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul took his pitch for a balanced federal budget to his own state capital on Tuesday.

Paul spoke in support of a legislative resolution calling for a U.S. constitutional convention to add to the document a requirement that the federal government not spend more than what it brings in.

Paul spoke during a state Senate committee meeting Tuesday morning encouraging the state government to pass the resolution, SCR 134. It is sponsored by state Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville.

The resolution passed the full Senate 22-16 along a largely party-line vote. Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, was the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote no. The resolution will move to the House chamber.

Williams and Paul first made their case for the resolution to the Senate State and Local Government Committee in the morning.

Both Paul and Williams said they didn’t believe a constitutional convention would be called to deal with a potential balanced budget amendment, but that if enough states threatened, it would force Congress to act.

Paul said a bipartisan solution is needed for what he termed a “bipartisan problem.” Paul spoke directly to Senate Democrats about voting against the resolution during the committee.

During the committee, Senate Democrats, including Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, questioned whether states could call for a constitutional convention to take up just one issue.

Williams and Paul said that it could, while Senate Democrats voiced concerns that a convention could take up any number of proposed constitutional changes. The three Democrats who stayed around for the vote all opposed the resolution.

Despite disagreeing with the approach, the Democrats said they believe in a balanced budget amendment.

In a coalition of normally philosophically opposed groups, the tea party movement-affiliated Take Back Kentucky and the more liberal Kentuckians for the Commonwealth agreed with the Democrats’ concerns.

Norman Davis, a leader of Take Back Kentucky, told the Senate committee not to approve the resolution. He also stood later in the day with one of Williams’ Republican gubernatorial primary opponents, Phil Moffett, who opposes the resolution for the same reasons as Davis.

Homer White, a spokesman for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, said his group didn’t want to handcuff the government from continuing certain programs.

But Paul warned that if the federal government does not balance its budget soon it will have harsh consequences.

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston


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