Paul Ryan, Rand Paul Clash Privately Over Budget

WASHINGTON -- Before releasing his budget publicly, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave Senate Republicans a private briefing about the plan in early April. During that meeting, Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Party-backed freshman from Kentucky, challenged Ryan in front of the rest of their party, according to two GOP aides briefed on the meeting.

Sen. Paul said Rep. Ryan's plan did not do enough to cut spending and relied on too much deficit spending for too long, according to the aides.

Ryan gave it right back to him. The budget committee chairman went directly after Sen. Paul’s five-year budget plan, which he had clearly studied closely. Ryan’s criticism went roughly like this: yes, he said, you slash the Department of Education and make fast, dramatic cuts, but you don’t deal with entitlement spending. In the out years the deficit would sky-rocket, he said, making an air chart with his hand moving through the air and pointing sharply upward.

A GOP aide sympathetic to Sen. Paul said that Rep. Ryan’s criticism unfairly isolated a single part of his plan and treated as if it represented Paul’s global approach to deficit reduction. Paul does plan to announce a proposal for cutting entitlement spending, the aide said, but wanted to put the domestic spending plan out first.

The private challenge from Sen. Paul reflects criticisms of Rep. Ryan’s plan Paul also made to HuffPost. Paul thinks that Ryan’s approach doesn’t go nearly far enough.

“Here’s how bad it is: The president’s proposal, his ten year plan, is 46 trillion in spending. Paul Ryan’s alternative, which everybody is going crazy over, is still 40 trillion dollars in spending,” Paul told HuffPost. “My problem with the whole thing is that all of the proposals basically increase spending.”

Rand Paul said that Paul Ryan’s plan relies too heavily on deficit spending. “The president adds, I think, 11 trillion to the gross debt and Ryan’s plan adds eight trillion. I don’t think anybody up here realizes that we can’t withstand trillion dollar annual deficits,” he said.

A Ryan spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The House recently approved Ryan’s spending plan, but it was rejected by the Senate. A compromise budget that dramatically cuts government spending expires at the end of September.

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