In tea party response to Obama, Paul embraces immigration reform

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will deliver the tea party's response to President Obama's State of the Union address.
(James Crisp / Associated Press)

WASHINGTON – In his tea party-sponsored rebuke to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, Sen. Rand Paul will say Republicans should be the party that embraces immigrants as “assets, not liabilities.”

The remarks provide more evidence that since the November election, which delivered huge margins to Democrats among Latino voters, even the right wing of the Republican Party is shrinking from the fight against immigration reform. Paul, elected in 2010 from Kentucky, is weighing a run for president; he has said he favors a potential path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.


“We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity; therefore, we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future,” Paul is scheduled to say, according to an excerpt released in advance of his speech. “We must be the party that says, ‘If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you.’”

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Paul’s speech at the National Press Club in Washington is the third tea party response to the State of the Union; the others were given by businessman Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

On fiscal policy, Paul is less amenable to compromise and more in line with familiar tea party orthodoxy. Paul says he not only supports the approaching $1 trillion in forced federal spending cuts, but thinks they should be far deeper. The cuts, known as the sequester, will kick in March 1 unless Congress agrees on a compromise plan for other spending cuts and revenue increases.

“Not only should the sequester stand, many pundits say the sequester really needs to be at least $4 trillion to avoid another downgrade of America’s credit rating,” Paul plans to say. He will say there should be a bipartisan consensus, but won’t mention new taxes – just a compromise on where to cut.

“Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses. It is time for a new bipartisan consensus. It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud.”

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