Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has saved and returned more than $620,000 from his FY 2016 operating budget, bringing the total amount he has returned to taxpayers since he took office in 2011 to over $3 million.
“It’s easy to picture Washington’s out-of-control spending as a massive, untamable beast,” said Dr. Paul. “So I [was] determined to show change is possible by starting in the area under my control, while working everywhere else I could to stop ‘business as usual.’”
Paul has been actively committed to reining in federal spending and shrinking our $20 trillion debt during his time as a senator. He files a weekly “Waste Report,” in which he calls attention to unnecessary programs being funded by Congress, and he consistently offers plans to balance the budget, which include cutting wasteful spending, eliminating foreign aid, and reforming entitlements. Returning unused portions of his legislative budget seems to be his way of personally practicing the fiscal responsibility he promotes so heavily.
“I promised Kentuckians I would stand for smaller, more efficient government, balanced budgets, and spending restraint,” Paul said. “I’m proud my staff and I have kept that pledge while operating one of the most active federal offices.”
Dr. Paul was a millennial favorite during the 2016 Republican primaries, but suspended his campaign after underperforming in the Iowa caucuses. His platform included plans to minimize the financial burden that future generations will bear by cutting government spending and tackling the deficit now.
His father, Ron Paul, ran for president in 2008 and 2012 on a very similar ideology, which was also successful in attracting young voters concerned about their economic futures. The elder Paul also managed to return unused budget dollars each year he served as a Texas congressman.
“Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s still something to be said for living within your means,” Matt Kibbe of Conservative Review said of Paul’s spending practices. “It’s important to lead by example, and to show the rest of Congress that it is possible to spend less.”
The returned money, however, does not go directly back to the taxpayers. Rather, it rolls over into next year’s budget. Still, Paul’s budget consciousness proves that his fiscal conservatism is more than just a talking point used to win votes.