Reporting from Washington — Hours before a State of the Union address expected to focus on government spending, Washington has come down with a case of budget-slash fever.
Republican freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has unveiled his plan to cut $500 billion from the federal budget in a single year — a path that would transform the federal government and dramatically curb its reach into American life.
FOR THE RECORD
A headline in a previous version of this post referred to Rand Paul as a U.S. representative. He is a senator.
Paul's budget cuts more than five times as much as House Republican leaders have advocated and faces little chance of winning support, even from within his own party.
Still, the "tea party" favorite's plan demonstrates one pole in the coming budget debate. His plan would cut in half funding for the Department of Commerce and nearly eliminate the Department of Education. It would eliminate the Department of Energy, which oversees environment regulation and enforcement.
The budget would cut funding for the federal court system and the Agriculture Department by nearly one-third. The Pentagon would see a roughly 6% cut, and the Food and Drug Administration a 62% cut.
"By removing programs that are beyond the constitutional role of the federal government, such as education and housing, we are cutting nearly 40% of our projected deficit and removing the big-government bureaucrats who stand in the way of efficiency in our federal government," Paul said in a statement.
Reps. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will deliver GOP responses to the president's speech — and both are expected to include calls for deep cuts in the federal budget.