"I have a message from the Tea Party,
a message that is loud & clear & does not mince words.
We've come to take our government back."
— Senator Rand Paul
"I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who's handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator."
— Rand Paul
"The problem is that in our country, they make it almost impossible for politicians to win anything. In England it's easier to win a libel suit."
— Rand Paul
"Washington is horribly broken. We are encountering a day of reckoning and this movement, this Tea Party movement, is a message to Washington that we're unhappy and that we want things done differently."
— Rand Paul
"What I've always said is that I'm opposed to institutional racism, and I would've, had I've been alive at the time, I think, had the courage to march with Martin Luther King to overturn institutional racism, and I see no place in our society for institutional racism."
— Rand Paul
"You know, when Republicans were in charge, we doubled the debt. But, now, our concern is the Democrats are in charge and they're tripling the debt. So, really, our concern is that we want smaller government."
— Rand Paul
Randal Howard "Rand" Paul (born January 7, 1963) is the junior United States Senator for Kentucky. He is a member of the Republican Party. A member of the Tea Party movement, he describes himself as a "constitutional conservative" and a libertarian. He is the son of Republican Congressman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas and had never previously held political office. Paul first received national attention in 2008 when making political speeches on behalf of his father. Rand Paul is the first United States Senator in history to serve alongside a parent in the United States House of Representatives.
A graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, Paul has been a practicing ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, Kentucky, since 1993, and established his own clinic in December 2007. In 1994, he founded Kentucky Taxpayers United, of which he is still the chairman.
In 2010, Paul ran as the Republican candidate for the United States Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky and defeated Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. As a supporter of the Tea Party movement, Paul has been vocal in advocating for term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and the Read the Bills Act, in addition to the widespread reduction of federal spending and taxation. He has gained prominence for his independent positions on many political issues, often clashing with both Republicans and Democrats.
As founder and chairman of the anti-tax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United (KTU) since 1994, Paul regularly presents "taxpayers' friend" awards to state legislators. KTU, which regards itself as nonpartisan, but is criticized for being ideologically conservative, examines legislator records on taxation and spending to inform voters where their own lawmakers stand on the issues. Paul's editorial commentary on behalf of KTU has been published and recognized in the Kentucky Post.
KTU sponsors the Taxpayer's Pledge of Americans for Tax Reform, encouraging politicians to pledge publicly to vote uniformly against tax raises. Nine of fifteen Northern Kentucky legislators signed the pledge, such as Senator Dick Roeding and Representative Royce Adams in 1996. In 2000, these legislators considered a hotel room tax hike (favored by Governor Paul Patton for helping expand the Dr. Albert B. Sabin Convention Center in nearby Cincinnati), even though the increase might "incur the wrath of Paul's group," as two newspapers put it.
Paul stated that Patton's argument for "revenue recovery" was merely a euphemism for taxes and said that KTU would fight reelection of any pledge-breakers; Adams requested in writing that Paul's group release him from his pledge, stating that it only applied to his first term. By the close of session in April, the tax increase had failed, although Patton had achieved most of his intended budget; Paul stated legislators were pressured to finalize the budget by deadline rather than to "face accusations of shutting down government."
Paul often speaks on his father's behalf, and he and his son William attended the third Republican presidential debate of 2007 in New Hampshire, as well as campaigned door-to-door in the state for his father. At a New Hampshire rally with 250 in attendance (plus 30 members of his own family), Paul repeated a campaign meme by pretending to take a call from Rudy Giuliani during his remarks, and joking that Giuliani needed campaigners and wanted to borrow the Paul family.
On December 16, 2007, the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, Paul spoke at Faneuil Hall in favor of small government principles, calling for what CNN termed a "modern day revolution." He continued campaigning across the country for his father in 2008, traveling as far as Montana.
Paul has co-authored a book entitled The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Jack Hunter, released on February 22, 2011. It defends the Tea Party movement.
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2010
In the beginning of 2009, Paul was the focus of an online grassroots movement to draft him in a bid to replace beleaguered Republican Kentucky senator Jim Bunning. The news of his potential candidacy became a topic of national interest and was discussed in the Los Angeles Times and locally in the Kentucky press. Commenting on Paul's possible candidacy, Congressman Ron Paul noted that "Should Senator Bunning decide not to run, I think Rand would make a great U.S. Senator."
On May 1, 2009, Paul officially confirmed that if Bunning, whose fundraising in 2009 has matched his poor numbers in opinion polling for the 2010 election, declined to seek a third term, he would almost certainly run in the Republican Party primary to succeed him, and formed an exploratory committee soon after, while still promising to stay out of the race if Bunning had ultimately decided to run for re-election. Paul made this announcement on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, though the news was first broken by a local Kentucky news site.
On July 28, 2009, Bunning announced that he would not run for re-election, after facing insufficient fundraising. This announcement left only Paul and Secretary of State Trey Grayson as the remaining candidates for the Republican nomination, with Paul announcing on August 5, 2009 that he would officially run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. The announcement was made through a series of national TV events, radio, and other programs, as well as through newspapers in Kentucky.
Early fundraising success
On August 20, 2009, Paul's grassroots planned a moneybomb to kick off his campaign for United States Senate. The official campaign took in $433,509 in 24 hours. According to Paul, This set a new record in Kentucky's political fundraising history in a 24-hour period.
A second "moneybomb" was held on September 23, 2009, to counter a D.C. fundraiser being held for primary opponent Trey Grayson, by 23 Republican United States Senators, 17 of whom voted for the bank bailout. The theme was a UFC "fight" between Paul and "We the People" vs. Trey Grayson and the "D.C. Insiders." The money bomb ended up raising $186,276 for Paul in 24 hours on September 23; bringing Paul's Senate campaign's total raised to over one million. Later in the campaign, Paul claimed his pledge to not take money from lobbyist and Senators who voted for the bailout was only a "primary pledge" and Paul later held a DC fundraiser with the same Senators who were the target of the September 23, 2009 "moneybomb." Paul ended up raising some $3 million during the primary period.
Although Grayson was considered the frontrunner in July 2009, Paul found success characterizing Grayson as a "career politician" and challenging Grayson's conservatism. Paul ran an ad in February that made an issue out of Grayson's September 2008 admission that he voted for Bill Clinton when he was 20 years old. Although the Paul campaign later removed the video from YouTube, Paul's Democratic general election competitor put it back up on October 20 after Paul had taken exception to the Democrat making an issue out of Paul's own college-age actions. James Dobson, a Christian evangelical figure, endorsed Grayson on April 26 based on the advice of what Dobson described as "senior members of the GOP", but on May 3 the Paul campaign announced that Dobson had changed his endorsement to Paul after Paul and some Paul supporters had lobbied Dobson insisting on Paul's social conservative bona fides.
On May 18 Paul won the Republican Senatorial primary by a 23.4% margin, meaning he would face the Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, in the November 2 general election.
On June 28, 2010, Rand Paul supporters held their first post-primary online fundraising drive, this time promoted as a "money blast."
BP oil spill comments
On May 21, 2010, Paul generated some controversy by characterizing statements made by Obama administration officials regarding the BP oil spill cleanup as sounding "un-American". Paul said:
" What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. I've heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen."
Paul may have been referring to a statement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who said "our job is basically to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum to carry out the responsibilities that they have, both under the law and contractually to move forward and to stop this spill." Salazar's remark was later slightly misquoted as "boot on the throat" by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs clarified at the same press conference, when asked if this metaphor did not imply hostility to BP, "I think the President accurately conveyed in his remarks yesterday that we are going to do everything humanly possible, and ensure that BP is doing everything humanly possible, to deal with this as comprehensively and as quickly as they can."
Private property and civil rights
Paul criticized the Bowling Green Daily News on May 30, 2002 for supporting the Fair Housing Act. He explained that "a free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin." On May 19, 2010, Paul stated that he favors 9 out of 10 titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but had he been a senator during 1960s, he would have raised some questions on the constitutionality of Title II of the Act, which prohibits private businesses who provide public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, or national origin against their customers, arguing that it infringes upon constitutional freedoms. Paul stated on National Public Radio, "I'm in favor of everything with regards to ending institutional racism". Paul favors community and neighborhood pressure to persuade private businesses, rather than federal laws that he argued might violate the constitution. Paul said he abhors racism, and he would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to repeal Jim Crow Laws. Paul's comments on Title II of Civil Rights Act of 1964 stirred controversy and brought concern among Republican party insiders about his viability in the general election. Paul later released a statement declaring that he would have voted for the Act and stated "unequivocally ... that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964". Paul stating that while he "abhors racism," he doesn't like the idea of the federal government determining who a business may serve. Amid a flurry of controversy, Paul became the first American politician to cancel an appearance on Meet the Press in their 64-year history. Additionally, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, publicly denounced him, saying that Paul's opposition to the Civil Rights Act is a "misplaced" philosophy for the 21st Century.
Paul addressed his feelings about intentions of the legislation relating to public offices, stating that he "overwhelmingly agrees with the intent of the [Civil Rights Act] which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws," and that Constitutional challenges to the law have been settled by the courts.
Paul has secured endorsements from several public figures and political organizations. They include the Downsize DC Foundation, Concerned Women for America, Gun Owners of America, Steve Forbes, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, James Dobson, Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Cathy Bailey, Jim Bunning, Erick Erickson, National Federation of Independent Business, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, National Right to Life, US Chamber of Commerce, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Mike Huckabee, and Tony Perkins/FRC Action PAC.
U.S. Senate career
Paul was sworn in on January 5, 2011 along with his father, marking the first time in congressional history that a child served in the Senate while the parent simultaneously served in the House of Representatives. He was assigned to serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees. Paul also formed the Senate Tea Party Caucus with Jim DeMint and Mike Lee as its inaugural members. Paul’s first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. This proposal includes cutting the Department of Education by 83% and the Department of Homeland Security by 43%, as well as folding the Department of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated and food stamps would be cut by 30%. Under Paul’s proposal, defense spending would be reduced by 6.5% and international aid would be eliminated. He later proposed a five-year budget plan that he believed would balance the budget.
In February, Paul was one of two Republicans to vote against extending three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of "lone wolves" — individuals not linked to terrorist groups). In May, he remained the last senator opposing the PATRIOT Act, and was ultimately defeated on May 26.
On March 2, Paul was one of nine senators to vote against a stopgap bill that cut $4 billion from the budget and temporarily prevent a government shutdown, citing that it did not cut enough from the budget. One week later, Paul voted against the Democratic and Republican budget proposals to keep funding the federal government, citing that both bills did not cut enough spending. Both bills failed to pass the senate. He later voted against stopgap measures on March 17 and April 8, both of which passed the senate. On April 14, Paul was one of 19 senators to vote against a budget that cut $38.5 billion from the budget and fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Paul voiced opposition to U.S. intervention in the Libyan civil war and has criticized President Obama for not gaining congressional consent for Operation Odyssey Dawn. During the debt ceiling crisis, Paul stated that he would only support raising the debt ceiling if a balanced budget amendment was enacted. Paul was a supporter of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was tabled by the Democrats. On August 3, Paul voted against a bill that would raise the debt ceiling.
On September 7, Paul called for a vote of no confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Later that month, Paul blocked legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines because he felt the bill was not strong enough. In October, Paul blocked a bill that would provide $36 million in benefits for elderly and disabled refugees, saying that he was concerned that it could be used to aid domestic terrorists. This was in response to two alleged terrorists, who came to the United States through a refugee program and were receiving welfare benefits, were arrested in 2011 in Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green. Paul lifted his hold on the bill after Democratic leaders promised to hold a congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation on how the two suspects were admitted in the country through a refugee program.
- Committee assignments
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Subcommittee on Energy
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Rand Paul supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and the Read the Bills Act, in addition to the widespread reduction of federal spending and taxation. He has gained prominence for his independent positions on many political issues, often clashing with both Republicans and Democrats.
Abortion and bioethics
Rand Paul is opposed to abortion and supports a Human Life Amendment and a Life at Conception Act. He also opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest, but supports use of the morning-after pill. He opposes federal funding for abortion. He takes a states' rights position, favoring the overturn of Roe v. Wade and allowing states to decide on the legality of abortions without federal involvement.
According to the Paul campaign, Paul received a 100% pro-life score on a Kentucky Right to Life survey and indicated on the survey that he opposed human cloning. This was disputed by Kentucky Right to Life, however, who endorsed Paul's primary opponent instead and claimed that Paul did not, in fact, answer the cloning question.
Campaign finance reform
Rand Paul opposes the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 and has called it a "dangerous piece of legislation". Instead, he supports regulating the contracts given out by Congress and placing limits on corporations receiving government contracts. Paul opposes legislation limiting the amount of money individuals, corporations, and organizations can give to candidates. Additionally, Paul has proposed "mandating a clause in all federal contracts over $1 million that requires the recipient to pledge not to lobby government or contribute to campaigns during the terms of the contract."
Rand Paul opposes the USA PATRIOT Act, including warrantless searches and breach of individual privacy.
Economics and tax cuts
Rand Paul has been a longtime opponent of the bank and auto industry bailouts.
He also opposes the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the Federal Reserve's control of the money supply and interest rates. He has advocated allowing the free market to regulate interest rates, and supports Congress' constitutional role in controlling the money supply. Paul endorses H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, a bill, introduced by his father, mandating an audit of the Federal Reserve. Although Paul would abolish the Federal Reserve, he supports transparency and accountability of the semi-private institution. Additionally, Paul opposes inflation and supports "restoring the value of the dollar that has devalued by approximately 95% since the Federal Reserve's inception in 1913".
Rand Paul supports tax cuts and a Balanced Budget Amendment, and has criticized both Republicans and Democrats on deficit spending.
Rand Paul supports returning control of education to local communities and parents and thus eliminating the federal Department of Education, but he says that some functions of the Department of Education, such as disbursing student loans and Pell Grants, should be transferred to other departments instead of being eliminated. Paul opposes federal regulation of homeschooling.
Rand Paul supports allowing the free market to compete and dictate which forms of energy to use. He opposes subsidizing energy companies, and would support allowing tax breaks for companies that produce alternative energy such as wind, solar, or geothermal. He has said that subsidizing the energy industry will only add incentive for companies to lobby the federal government.
Rand Paul opposes federal government involvement in health care. He has stated that he would repeal the HMO Act of 1973 that "drives a wedge between the patient and [one's] doctor". He believes that government has driven up the cost of health care and causes the quality and coverage to decrease. Paul would support a free market approach to health care, including tax deductions for medical expenses. He opposes federal regulations discouraging businesses from providing coverage. He supports Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). On Medicare, Paul has suggested higher deductibles as well as changes to premiums or eligibility rules as ways to address what he sees as the program's looming financial problems, saying "You want to have more participation by the person who's receiving the entitlement... by that I mean that they need to be more involved with some sort of economic transaction every time they use their entitlement, and that means they have to bear more of the burden." Paul also stated that he does not support such changes for current retirees or people nearing retirement.
Rand Paul has proposed adding security to the border by installing an electronic fence and helicopter stations to respond to breaches. He opposes birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. Paul has said that courts should review the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," to conclude whether or not it should apply to the children of illegal immigrants. If court challenges fail, Paul would support a constitutional amendment that would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States.
Rand Paul believes the issue of medical marijuana is a states' rights issue and that the federal government should not interfere. In August, the Associated Press reported that Paul said he was opposed to the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the Paul campaign says he was misquoted. Though Paul describes himself as a "social conservative," he was nonetheless described by the AP reporter as holding "libertarian leanings on drugs" and believing some drug sentences were too harsh.
Foreign policy and national defense
Rand Paul holds that the primary Constitutional function of the federal government is national defense, and that the greatest national security threat is the lack of border security. He supports eliminating issuance of visas to people from "about ten rogue nations." He supports trying terrorists caught on the battlefield in military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Paul believes that when the United States goes to war, Congress must declare war as mandated by the United States Constitution.
During his 2010 Senate campaign Paul questioned the idea that U.S. Middle East policy is "killing more terrorists than it creates." He supported the war in Afghanistan and opposed rapid withdrawal from Iraq. He says he would have voted against the invasion of Iraq and questioned whether the intelligence was manipulated."
Rand Paul also spoke against U.S. overseas military bases.
Rand Paul opposes same-sex marriage, but believes the issue should be left to the States to decide.
Rand Paul would oppose all gun control legislation, a position he says is supported by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.