Rand Paul comes to the table

I am going to give Rand Paul of Kentucky the benefit of the doubt for about six months. Here is his first proposal for spending reductions:

At one level Paul follows the House Republican standard of rolling back appropriations for many agencies to the levels set three years ago under the Bush administration. But elsewhere, he clearly goes much further, folding the Energy Department into the Department of Defense and wiping out most of the Education Department but for Pell Grants to low income college students.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is a third casualty, together with seven independent agencies including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and national endowments for the humanities and arts.

Paul’s 12-page bill appears to state its defense cuts as a series of 10 percent reductions from President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget request—not yet fully enacted. But as described in accompanying material provided by the senator’s office, the end result would be about a 2.7 percent cut below 2010 levels—far more severe than anything envisioned by House Republicans.

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