Feb. 4, 2011 -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took aim at the newly released House GOP budget, saying it falls far short of what needs to be done to deal with the federal deficit.
"It's really not going to touch the problem," Paul said. "There's a disconnect between Republicans who want a balanced budget but aren't maybe yet brave enough to talk about the cuts to come."
The plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released on Thursday, would cut non-security discretionary spending by $58 billion by the end of fiscal year 2011, which ends on Sept. 30.
In an far-ranging interview aboard the Capitol Subway, Paul embraced the label "true believer" and said staying true to the principles of the Tea Party movement is more important to him than being a Republican. He also refused to rule out a future run for president and suggested it may be time to reduce U.S. force levels in Afghanistan.
Paul has proposed his own plan to cut spending by $500 billion this year. Paul's plan would impose deep across-the-board spending cuts -- including a reduction of 83 percent from the Department of Education, 6 percent from the Department of Defense and the elimination all foreign aid. He considers it just a start.
"I go to a tea party and you know what they say to me? It's not enough. It's not enough. Where's the other trillion you need?" Paul said.
Paul defended his call to end to all foreign aid -- including the $3 billion the U.S. gives to Israel every year.
"I'm not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel," Paul said, "but not with money you don't have. We can't just borrow from our kids' future and give it to countries even if they are our friends."
Paul has come under fire from supporters of Israel, but said Israel has enough financial resources to fend for itself.
"I think they're an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world," Paul said. "Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don't think so."
And military resources, as well.
"I think they're probably 10 years ahead of any neighboring country," he said. "I think that their defense is very significant and probably well in advance of any of their particular enemies."
Regarding Afghanistan, Paul said it is up to the president to determine troop levels, but, "I personally think you can have a much smaller presence."
As for his own political allegiances, Paul made it clear he is a Tea Party activist first and a Republican second.
"There are always problems in our nation's capitol that are more important than party affiliation and I will always believe that," Paul said. "It's not necessarily Tea Party versus Republican Party, but I would say that if you ask me what's more important, tackling our nation's deficit, our nation's debt problems or being a Republican, I would say tackling the debt."