The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly voted down two amendments from Sen. Rand Paul to include spending cuts as part of the fiscal year 2018 budget.
The libertarian-minded senator's attempt to allow the Senate to consider another attempt at repealing Obamacare with the budget also failed.
One of Paul's failed amendments would have allowed Republicans to consider legislation to cut spending in addition to tax reform without facing a Democratic filibuster.
"In light of the fact that we are for tax cuts, we ought to also be for reducing spending so we don't explode the debt," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.
Paul's amendment would have allowed for a bill to cut spending to proceed through the same filibuster-proof procedure that Republicans hope to use to pass tax legislation. That process, reconciliation, requires passing the underlying budget document that was being voted on Thursday.
But that amendment failed 4-94, and only Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Mike Lee of Utah joined Paul. The measure would have opened the door to defense spending cuts, making it unappealing to some conservatives. Others simply didn't want to add any more complexity to the effort to get tax reform.
The version of the budget passed by the House does include reconciliation instructions for cutting $203 billion in mandatory spending in addition to tax reform legislation. That provision was critical to ensuring support for the budget from conservative members of the caucus.
Paul's other amendment would have cut discretionary spending by $43 billion. Flake, Lankford, Lee, and Steve Daines of Montana joined him.
Both Paul and Lee also put forth amendments to try for Obamacare repeal again with the fiscal year 2018 budget. Those measures failed, but each gained a majority of Republicans.