(CNN) - Republican Sen. Rand Paul returned half a million dollars from his office budget to the Treasury Department on Thursday, offering a relatively small chunk of cash to help pay off the massive federal debt, which totals more than $15 trillion.
Unveiling a check made out to "The U.S. Taxpayer" at an event in Louisville, the Kentucky senator said he hopes other members of Congress would follow his cost-cutting measures.
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"If every senator did the same and every congressman did the same, it would be about $130 million. And we've got to start somewhere," Paul said.
The $500,000 contribution amounted to about 16% of the freshman senator's $3 million annual budget.
Also at the event, Paul, whose father Ron Paul is a Republican presidential candidate, didn't beat back questions about a possible vice presidential run. The libertarian-leaning senator became a high-profile political figure after riding the tea party wave to his Senate seat in 2010.
Asked by a reporter if he'd consider joining the Republican nominee as a running mate, Paul didn't rule out the idea.
"I am interested in trying to shape direction and make our country more fiscally conservative," he said. "We'll have to see where it goes, right now I'm still supporting that guy from Texas we'll see how well he does."
Rep. Paul will compete in South Carolina's primary on January 21, hoping to slow down front-runner Mitt Romney's momentum in the GOP horserace. The former Massachusetts governor already won the first two Republican presidential nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
– CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.
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EXCELLENT! Leading by example and making REAL CUTS! Where are the Democrats and their checks??? I can hardly wait....
How sweet of him. Is he trying to buy votes for his daddy?
Ifnthis had been done by anyone else I wouldn't feel as dirty for the government to get money back.
Still not enough Mr Paul, give it more please if you want you Dad to get elect for President this time.
Senators get a $3 million annual budget?
Why do senators get a 3 million dollar budget to begin with? Oh yeah, they vote on it for themselves.
Crazier than his nut job daddy!
Three million dollar budget, that is the outrage........
Oh..please! another way of taking from a big corporations donations and pretend that coming from his own bocket to make him look good that's doesn't fool me!
Ron Paul gives money back every year, good for Rand.
Three million to Senators, they are all crooks... Where is POPS half a million from Texas....
Silly!..Rand Paul think he is smart.
Much as I dislike Rand, it's hard finding fault with this. Good for him.
Conservatives are always telling liberals to cut an extra check if they feel they don't pay enough in taxes. Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn't feels that he pays enough taxes. Too bad mroe people will not follow his example if it is not required by law.
Instead of complaining of what he has done, why don't you take a moment to ask your senator/congressman why their annual budget is $3mil? At least he is trying to cut costs.. How about other senators and congressman who quietly went along with this budget for years and years. Whether it is political move or not, don't belittle someone who is doing something about it.
Was he foaming at the mouth when he did it? Also, was the Sr. nutcase anywhere around? Neither will get my vote and neither look well.
Excuse me I meant: and neither looks well.
$3M is just the FRESHMAN budget. What do you think the senior member budgets are.
Someone said where are the Dems checks....lol.....after creating the DEBT that is some serious stones to let that fly. And the MAJORITY of the debt obama racked up us on the TWO wars the REPUBLICANS started. Nice try on the revisionist history but just like your candidates you are out of step with reality.
His father has always done the same thing. For those saying it's insignificant, I bet it's more than you or your Representative have done.
A valiant efffort.
Let's see who else follows suit.
Let's do the math is probably equal to over 250,000,000.00 in compined house and senate.
or he could keep it and the defecit would be 500,000 more. stupid people.
If he had lobbied Kentucky to make cuts to its drug enforcement agencies, his state would be able to return way more than a paltry $3M back to taxpayers.
At last a Republican that can keep his word. Now let see the rest of them do It. And I mean Both Party. Than Warren Buffet will keep his word.
Was he stomping on anyone's head like his thugs were at his campaign rallies 2 years ago?