Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is a man who practices what he preaches when he talks about fiscal responsibility and budgeting. In a refreshing moment of political grandstanding by members of his party and those on the Democrat side calling for fiscal responsibility, Paul puts our money where his mouth is. He returned a whopping $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury by operating his Senate office frugally over the past year.
“It’s the only budget I control. … It’s not enough, but it’s a start,” Paul said at a news conference Wednesday in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
Paul is a stickler for “watching every purchase.”
“We are frugal from top to bottom,” Paul said. “It’s not an enormous savings,” he said, but the savings would add up if purse strings were so closely watched throughout government.
The return of $600,000 is more than twenty percent of Paul’s original office budget.
While the Courier-Journal reported there are other senators that returned money as well, this is the second year in a row, that the Kentucky Senator has returned money.
Last year, Politico reported that Paul gave back $500,000. At that time the amount was about sixteen percent of his budget. In 2012, when he returned the money, “I ran to stop the reckless spending. And I ran to end the damaging process of elected officials acting as errand boys, competing to see who could bring back the biggest check and the most amount of pork.”
Scott Wong wrote that Senator Paul was not alone in his frugality:
During the past three years, Sen. Richard Shelby has returned more money to taxpayers than any other senator — about 40 percent or $1.2 million a year — according to a POLITICO analysis of all Senate office budgets. Sen. Barbara Boxer has consistently given back the least: less than 1 percent each year.
The gulf between Shelby, an Alabama Republican, and Boxer, a California Democrat, reflects a philosophical divide in Congress about how much money lawmakers need to effectively represent their states and constituents as the debate rages over the proper size and scope of the federal government.
But the office budget stats don’t necessarily play to stereotypes about fiscal conservatives versus Big Government liberals. The most frugal senators after Shelby in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 were Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), who returned a combined 34.3 percent of his budget; Jim Risch (R-Idaho) at 25.1 percent; Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) at 23.6 percent; and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) at 23.5 percent.
Paul believes this kind of cost cutting and responsibility when it comes to government funds should be the law. In fact, later this year he says that he will be offering a bill “incentivizing federal employees to identify and eliminate wasteful programs in their respective agencies.”
Now, just think if more members of the Republican party would practice what they preach the way Senator Paul has and were more frugal and more fiscally responsible with the offices they oversee? In fact, imagine that Democrats would do the same. Yes, this is a small amount in the big scheme of things. However, if you don’t have your own house in order, what business do you have dealing in the house of the American people? I say, “You have no business.”