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Rand Paul on Government Reform

Republican Kentucky Senator

 


Liberty thrives when government is small

Liberty thrives when government is small. I want a government so small I can barely see it. I want a government so small that the individual has a chance to thrive and prosper. I think, though, government is too big now. And what you're going to see in Washington this week is establishment Republicans have made an agreement with the president to raise the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion; no limit to the debt ceiling raise. This is extraordinary. It's extraordinarily wrong
Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

End the profession of "career politician" with term limits

We have all seen the consequence of long-term incumbencies. Career politicians seem to care more about their career than what is best for their country. We have seen politicians grow more and more out-of-touch with each successive term.

We have all seen the consequence of long-term incumbencies. Career politicians seem to care more about their career than what is best for their country. We have seen politicians grow more and more out-of-touch with each successive term.

It is time to put an end to the profession of "career politician," and impose limits on how many times a member is allowed to seek re-election. As a Senator, I introduced legislation that would limit the amount of time a member of the US House of Representatives or Senate may serve in office to a maximum of 12-years per chamber.

As President, I will continue to support term limits in the hopes of ensuring that your elected officials act in direct representation of you and your needs

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, RandPaul.com, "Issues" , Apr 7, 2015

Shut down Department of Education and TSA

The Department of Education would dissolve under a Paul proposal. He would close the agency and disperse funding to state and local programs. In addition, the senator has proposed shutting down the Transportation Security Administration and privatizing the security service. On the IRS, Paul has indicated he would reform the agency and has not said he would close it.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Apr 7, 2015

Term limits would infuse Congress with new ideas

All is not well in America. America is adrift. Something is clearly wrong. America needs many things, but what America desperately needs is new leadership.

There is no monopoly on knowledge in Washington. The best thing that could happen is for us--to once and for all--limit the terms of all politicians. We already limit the President to two terms. I think we should put limits on the terms of Congress and infuse our government with fresh ideas.

Source: Tea Party response to the 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

Supports early voting; but voter ID also ok

Q: what about this business about tightening up the voter I.D. laws? Should they be tighter? Should they have to show all this identification?

PAUL: I have mixed feelings. When I go in a government building, I have got to show my driver's license. So, I am not really opposed to it. I am opposed to it as a campaign theme. If you want to get the African-American vote, they think that this is suppression somehow and it's a terrible thing. I really think that we should restore the voting rights of those who had a previous conviction; that's where the real voting problem is. I'm not against early voting. I grew in Texas. We voted early for a month or two before elections for probably 20 years, and Texas is still a Republican state. But it's perception. The Republicans have to get beyond this perception that they don't want African-Americans to vote. Now, I don't think it's true. I'm not saying it's true. But by being for all these things, it reinforces a stereotype that we need to break down.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 2, 2014

Paid speech is still protected free speech

I think money corrupts the process. I do, however, agree with Citizens United in the sense that I think speech, whether you pay for it or not, is speech. Let's say I owned the Chicago Tribune; I've got a much bigger voice than millions of people, and yet no one is proposing that we restrict the Chicago Tribune in terms of what articles they write, and where their bias is. I think paid speech has to be protected. All these things have been found to be unconstitutional because of the First Amendment.
Source: Speech at U. Chicago's Institute of Politics , Apr 22, 2014

President should not bypass Congress with executive orders

Q: The president said, "I want to work with Congress, but I do have a pen and a phone and I can do lots of things with the executive and administrative tools that are before me." What does that say to you?

PAUL: It sounds vaguely like a threat and I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance in the sense that one of the fundamental principles of our country were the checks and balances that it wasn't supposed to be easy to pass legislation. You had to debate and convince people. So, there's a lot of things the president's not allowed to do. President's not allowed to write or amend legislation. He's not allowed to initiate war. And he's not allowed to tell us when we're in recess and when we're not. He says, "oh, well, it's hard to get Congress to do anything." Well, yes, welcome to the real world. It's hard to convince people to get legislation through. It takes consensus. But that's what he needs to be doing is building consensus and not taking his pen and creating law.

Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 26, 2014

Term limits if budget can't get balanced

Washington could use a good dose of transparency, which is why we should fight back against middle of the night deals that end with massive bills no one has read. We must continue to fight for legislation that forces Congress to read the bills! We must continue to object when Congress sticks special interest riders on bills in the dead of night!

And if Congress refuses to obey its own rules, if Congress refuses to pass a budget, if Congress refuses to read the bills, then I say: Sweep the place clean. Limit their terms and send them home!

I have seen the inner sanctum of Congress and believe me there is no monopoly on knowledge there. If they will not listen, if they will not balance the budget, then we should limit their terms.

Source: Tea Party Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Fund new programs by deleting existing ones

In Washington, [there are] the omnipresent groups of lobbyists and special interests who every day descend upon every Capitol Hill office in droves.

I have come to refer to them as the Beseechers. Their hands are always out. They are here to tell me why their cause/products/disease/group is by far the most--in fact possibly the ONLY--one deserving of large amounts of federal dollars, tax breaks, subsidies, or special rules and privileges.

My office demands that anyone wanting money--for any cause no matter how necessary or noble--must first explain where the money will come from. What existing program will they delete to pay for their desired program?

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 95 , Sep 12, 2012

Conservatives should criticize GOP when they grow government

Imagine Obama had governed from 2000 to 2008 exactly as Bush did. Would Republicans have given Obama and his party a free pass in carrying out the exact same agenda as Bush? It's hard to imagine this being the case, given the grief Bill Clinton got from Republicans, even though his big government agenda was less ambitious than Bush's. Yet, the last Republican president got very little criticism from his own party for most of his tenure.

For conservatives, there was no excuse for this.

Obama has proved far worse than Bush, no doubt, but this doesn't make Bush preferable, unless preference is dictated solely by party affiliation. But Clinton spent less money than his successor.

The word "conservative" came to lose its meaning as Republicans doubled government and the debt under their own watch. The Democrats are now tripling both and must be stopped-- but by a return to fiscal and constitutional sanity, not simply the same old, status quo insanity under the same old Republican brand.

Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p. 47-48 , Feb 22, 2012

Our legislative victory: an end to earmarks

A significant target of voter outrage as of late has been the practice of earmarking, a long-standing Washington method of tacking on pork-barrel spending to just about any piece of legislation. After the 2010 elections, enough new leaders had been elected who wanted to change business as usual in government. By the end of the year, we finally had a major legislative victory on this important issue--and we put an end to earmarks.

Within a month after the elections, even President Obama was hearing the message. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama embraced the era of no earmarks. I joked that instead of Washington co-opting the Tea Party, we were co-opting Washington. The Tea Party was even co-opting President Obama!

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. xi-xii , Jan 10, 2012

Federal contracts should include no-PAC clauses

I will propose that any federal contracts over a million dollars include a clause that precludes that entity from PAC contributions and lobbying.
Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p.246 , Feb 22, 2011

Instead of bringing home the bacon, bring home politicians

"We are bankrupting this country, and the bottom line is that the politicians don't get it. The only message they will understand is a one-way ticket home. Instead of bringing home the bacon, let's bring home the politicians. Bring them home to live with the mess they've created."

I ended my speech that day with one simple line: "I'm Rand Paul and I approve this message."

Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p. 9-10 , Feb 22, 2011

FactCheck: No, Kagan never she'd regulate vegetable eating

In talking about the constitutionality of the health care law, Sen. Paul distorted a comment by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Paul said, "Recently in committee hearings asked Elena Kagan, [she was asked] do you think the government through the commerce clause could regulate that you eat three vegetables a day. Her response was yes."

Kagan's response was not "yes." During the 10-minute exchange, she outlined precedents set by the Supreme Court and how the commerce clause has been applied, but she did not give a response to Coburn's hypothetical question about vegetables.

Kagan, June 29, 2010: "The commerce clause has been interpreted broadly. It's been interpreted to apply to regulation of any instruments or instrumentalities or channels of commerce, but it's also been applied to anything that would substantially affect interstate commerce.. the Congress can't regulate non-economic activities."

Source: FactCheck.org on 2011 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 15, 2011

Lobbyists' sole goal is to rip you off

Last year, over 15,000 individuals worked for organizations whose sole goal was to rip you off. No, not the mafia or Goldman Sachs, but another distinctly criminal class-- Washington lobbyists. In 2008, corporations and unions spent over $3 billion to bribe officials who claim to work for you.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.randpaul2010.com, "Issues" , Jul 19, 2010

No Pork Pledge: decrease earmarking; increase transparency.

Paul signed Citizens Against Government Waste's "No Pork Pledge"

Despite congressional reforms over the past several years to reduce pork barreling and increase earmark accountability and transparency, earmarks continue to figure prominently as the "currency of corruption" on Capitol Hill, undermining the federal budgetary process and our democratic system of government. In an effort to encourage more members of Congress and candidates for office to kick the earmarking habit, CCAGW has launched a new no-gimmicks, anti-pork pledge.

Source: Citizens Against Government Waste's "No Pork Pledge" 10-CAGW on Aug 12, 2010

Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill.

Paul signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 1. Protect the Constitution:

Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA01 on Jul 8, 2010

Audit federal agencies, to reform or eliminate them.

Paul signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington:

Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality,

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA05 on Jul 8, 2010

Moratorium on all earmarks until budget is balanced.

Paul signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 9. Stop the Pork:

Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA09 on Jul 8, 2010

Prohibit IRS audits targeting Tea Party political groups.

Paul co-sponsored Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act

Congressional summary:: Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act: Requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards and definitions in effect on January 1, 2010, for determining whether an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status as an organization operated exclusively for social welfare to apply to such determinations after enactment of this Act. Prohibits any regulation, or other ruling, not limited to a particular taxpayer relating to such standards and definitions.

Proponent's argument in favor (Heritage Action, Feb. 26, 2014): H.R. 3865 comes in the wake of an attack on the Tea Party and other conservative organizations. The current IRS regulation is so broad and ill-defined that the IRS applies a "facts and circumstances" test to determine what constitutes "political activity" by an organization. This test can vary greatly depending on the subjective views of the particular IRS bureaucrat applying the test. IRS employees took advantage of this vague and subjective standard to unfairly delay granting tax-exempt status to Tea Party organizations and subject them to unreasonable scrutiny.

Text of sample IRS letter to Tea Party organizations:We need more information before we can complete our consideration of your application for exemption. Please provide the information requested on the enclosed Information Request by the response due date. Your response must be signed by an authorized person or officer whose name is listed on your application.

Source: H.R.3865 & S.2011 14-S2011 on Feb 11, 2014

Signed term limit pledge: 6 years House; 12 years Senate.

Paul signed pledging 6-year term limit

Organizational Self-Description: U.S. Term Limits, the nation's oldest and largest term limits advocacy group, announced that 14 new signers of its congressional term limits amendment pledge have been elected to the 114th Congress. The group includes five new senators, eight new House members and one House incumbent who signed the pledge for the first time this cycle. The pledge calls for members to co-sponsor and vote for a constitutional amendment limiting House members to three terms (six years) and Senators to two terms (12 years). The USTL President said, "The American people are fed up with career politicians in Washington and strongly embracing term limits as a remedy. Gallup polling shows that 75% of Americans support term limits."

Opposing legal argument: [ACLU, Nov. 7, 2014]: In U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (May 22, 1995), the Court ended the movement to enact term limits for Congress on a state-by-state basis. The Court held that the qualifications for Congress established in the Constitution itself could not be amended by the states without a constitutional amendment, and that the notion of congressional term limits violates the "fundamental principle of our representative democracy 'that the people should chose whom they please to govern them.'"

Opposing political argument: [Cato Institute Briefing Paper No. 14, Feb. 18, 1992]: Several considerations may explain political scientists' open hostility to term limitation:

Source: Press release from U.S. Term Limits 16-USTL on Nov 8, 2014

Paul signed supporting Congressional term limits

Excerpts from press release on Term Limits Caucus: Two U.S. Term Limits pledge signers, Republican Rep. Rod Blum (IA-1) and Democrat Rep. Beto O`Rourke (TX-16), have announced the formation of a Term Limits Caucus, which will work to build bipartisan support behind a constitutional amendment imposing term limits on Congress. "The root of this problem is that politicians are incentivized by the system to care more about retaining their position than doing what is best for the country," Blum said. "Our founding fathers never intended for public service to be a career, rather, serving in Congress was designed to be a temporary sacrifice made for the public good."

The new working group will marshal pro-term limits members together to pursue common ground. One of its most important duties will be building consensus around the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three House terms and two Senate terms, to which both Blum and O`Rourke have pledged their exclusive support.

Supporting argument: (Cato Institute): We should limit members to three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. Let more people serve. Let more people make the laws. And let's get some people who don't want to make Congress a lifelong career. Some say that term limits would deprive us of the skills of experienced lawmakers. Really? It's the experienced legislators who gave us a $17 trillion national debt, and the endless war in Iraq, and the Wall Street bailout.

Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation): The only serious opponents of term limits are incumbent politicians and the special interests--particularly labor unions--that support them. Special interests oppose term limits because they do not want to lose their valuable investments in incumbent legislators. Many are organized to extract programs, subsidies, and regulations from the federal government--to use the law as a lever to benefit their own constituencies or harm their rivals.

Source: U.S. Term Limits 17MEM-USTL on Jan 26, 2017

Other candidates on Government Reform: Rand Paul on other issues:
KY Gubernatorial:
Elaine Chao
KY Senatorial:
Alison Grimes
Matt Bevin
Mitch McConnell

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Page last updated: Sep 03, 2017