GOP candidate Bills does about-face on foreign aidby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills said Tuesday he no longer supports eliminating all foreign aid in the U.S. budget, as he had called for in previous weeks. Instead, Bills said he supports a freeze on foreign aid at $5 billion a year.
Bills is running against incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, in November's election.
Bills had the backing of Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul going into the state GOP endorsing convention two weeks ago, where Paul supporters turned out in large numbers. There was little question that Paul's endorsement helped Bills defeat the two other endorsement contenders, Dan Severson and Pete Hegseth.
One of Paul's most controversial positions has been his call to eliminate foreign aid. In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio News weeks before the endorsing convention, Bills strongly defended his position that the U.S. should phase out foreign aid.
"Who wouldn't agree with that?" Bills asked. "We have a country where we're running $1.3- to $1.6 trillion deficits the last couple of years, and we're shipping money overseas when we can't pay our own bills?"
After filing his campaign papers with the Minnesota Secretary of State's office Tuesday afternoon, Bills explained the change in his position on foreign aid.
"There are things that you don't understand, and as any teacher would tell you, you have to be a lifelong learner," said Bills. "I'm not saying that I'm evolving on all these things. But there are things that I will evolve on because I'm learning, and I think that that's completely honest to talk about."
Bills added that the plan he now supports would keep funding for Israel at its current level.
Bills was carrying a copy of the budget plan proposed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. -- Ron Paul's son. It would dramatically cut federal spending and promises a more than $100 billion surplus in fiscal year 2017.