A booming voice amidst the federal budget crisis, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he has promised his Tea Party faithful followers that he will remain dedicated to his beliefs, even if it means not getting re-elected.
"I do think I'm able to agitate," he said. "Everything up here is fixable, but you have to have people who aren't afraid to talk about it. I'm not afraid not to be elected. Six years from now, they can bring me back home."
In an interview with ABC News' Bill Weir, Paul claimed his own party wasn't doing enough to cut government spending as the deadline for preventing a federal government shutdown approaches next week.
"I think the entire Republican caucus on the Senate side is for a balanced budget amendment, and I say that's good," he said. "That means we are philosophically in tune but I say you have to cut spending. ... I don't think they realize the enormity of the problem."
Paul, the co-founder of the Senate Tea Party caucus and author of "The Tea Party Goes to Washington," has become one of the most controversial senators since assuming office in January. The spending cuts he wants are far more drastic than what his fellow senators are proposing -- 10 times more.
The GOP proposed a plan to cut $50 billion in spending from the federal budget, but Paul said he wanted to slash $500 billion, which included shutting down the Departments of Energy and Education, killing the Consumer Product Safety Commission, crippling the defense budget and cutting off all foreign aid.
"The bottom line is, I tell people in Kentucky," he said. "I would say, 'I am not here to bring you a brand new shiny building. I am not here to bring you any federal money.' There is no money left."
On Tuesday, Paul rejected the Senate Democrats' proposal to temporarily extend government funding past the March 4 deadline. The senator said he didn't want the federal government to be shut down, but was steadfast in the belief that the solutions that were being proposed weren't good enough.
"I hope we can find a compromise," he said. "The other side wants the dynamic of blaming Republicans for shutting things down, but this happens at every level of government. For example, in my little town, if they don't pass the budget, do you know the first thing they do? They turn the lights off at the Little League park and say no more Little League games because they want everybody up in arms. But they're trying to get what they want."
A longtime campaigner for small government, Paul said that the federal government may have an obligation to take care of its citizens, but issues such as welfare benefits are handled better by local agencies.
"As a Christian, we are our brothers' keepers and we do have a moral obligation to take care of them," he said. "The question you have you ask is, is the federal government equipped to do that? We used to have a Bowling Green welfare department. I'd much rather have that than a Washington welfare department because if you came down there with a bottle of liquor and you weren't looking for a job, your benefits ran out quickly."
Paul's hatred for federal government regulation was blatant when he cast the sole "no" vote last week on a measure that would make it a federal crime to shine a handheld laser pointer into the cockpit of an aircraft in flight. The measure passed in the Senate 96 to 1, with three senators not present.