U.S. Senator Rand Paul

Politics
2:47 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Praise General Assembly for Approving Hemp Legislation

Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Republican U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are lauding the Kentucky General Assembly for passing legislation to allow a regulatory framework for industrial hemp.

The so-called hemp bill was approved by state lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session, and allows licensing of future hemp farmers to the Industrial Hemp Commission should the federal government legalize the crop.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer led the initiative, and told Kentucky Public Radio's Kenny Colston state officials are working with the federal delegation to get a federal waiver.

McConnell and Paul both said Wednesday they will work to get the crop legalized for Kentucky farmers to grow.

From McConnell's office:

I applaud Commissioner James Comer for his leadership on the issue and the Kentucky General Assembly for passing the legislation which has the potential to provide an economic boost to Kentucky, create jobs and allow Kentucky farmers to harness the economic potential that industrial hemp can provide. 

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Politics
10:22 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Senator Marco Rubio Outlines Vision of 'Limitless' America in UofL Address

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fl.,
Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida delivered a speech at the University of Louisville outlining his domestic and foreign policy views, saying America is still a country without limits.

The speech delivered Monday was part of the McConnell Center’s lecture series, which has featured several high-profiled leaders including House Speaker John Boehner.

Rubio is considered a top contender for the GOP’s presidential nomination in the 2016 election. Recently the Miami-native, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, has been a leading proponent for comprehensive immigration reform.

Rubio did not address a potential White House bid, but during the introduction Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joked Florida's junior senator is seeking to buy a vacation home in Iowa and New Hampshire.

During the address, Rubio told the crowd America is still known as a land of opportunity at home and abroad, but he is troubled there is a growing doubt across class lines.

"A people who are not part of generational poverty, whose families have been living in public housing and dependent on government for generations. A people in the working class who are starting to wonder whether if they really work hard they’ll be able to give their children the chance at a life better than theirs," he said. "A people in the middle-class who feel like they’ve gotten stuck with everything, that in essence they’ve done it the right way. They paid their mortgage on time, but now they got stuck holding the bill while the ones who caused this chaos were bailed out."

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Politics
1:54 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Tackle With TAC4 Hosting Immigration Forum

A Louisville-based consulting firm is hosting a forum on immigration reform with the hope of finding common ground.

In the past year, TAC 4 Solutions had held several public discussions on tough political issues such as gun control, campaign finance reform and President Obama’s health care law. The group's aim is to hold respectful dialogue and change the tone of political conversation.

There appears to be movement on improving the immigration system after Republicans performed poorly among Hispanics in the fall election.

Recently, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered a speech on immigration reform that was praised by liberal and Tea Party activists. Paul noted that Republicans have been losing "both the respect and votes" of Hispanics due to the GOP's "harsh rhetoric."

Kate Miller is a program director with the ACLU of Kentucky, and a featured panelist. She says it is encouraging to hear Paul’s remarks because the majority of Americans want to improve the system.

"We haven’t had an opportunity to review all of Senator Paul’s proposal, but I can assure you that we are thrilled that his proposal includes a pathway to citizenship," she says. "And really it’s not surprising that someone with his political background would support a more practical system. As most people know, it’s very expensive to maintain our current immigration system."

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Local News
4:35 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Joins Democrat to Give Judges More Flexibility in Federal Sentencing

Senator Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Joining Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary.

The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 will expand the so-called "safety valve", which allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases.   

Leahy and Paul are polar opposites politically, but the two senators agree more latitude is needed to address the country's growing prison population and spiraling costs. 

For many critics, the "tough-on-crime" of the past 30 years have created laws that disproportionately effect minorities and the poor.

Paul emphasizes that the mandatory laws are a part of federal overreach where more judicial discretion is needed.

"Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates the our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals, and costs the taxpayers money without making them any safer," Paul said in a news release. "This bill is necessary to combat the explosion of new federal criminal laws, many of which carry new mandatory minimum penalties."

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Politics
7:03 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Calls for New GOP at CPAC

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said the GOP has "grown stale and moss covered" and needs to embrace libertarianism.

"The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. If we're going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP," he said.

For many conservatives, Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan in protest of President Obama's drone policies puts him at the head of the line for presidential contenders in 2016.

The high-profiled speech gave Paul a chance to court the so-called "Facebook generation" on privacy matters, and explain why he favors limits on presidential power.

Paul's remarks also gave him a chance to rebuke GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who right before Paul's speech said the party didn't need new ideas.

Watch the full speech:

Politics
8:59 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Filibuster Reveals Close But 'Shrewd' Relationship Between Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell

Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Senator Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour talking filibuster reveals a telling wrinkle about the so-called symbiotic relationship with fellow Kentuckian and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

According to the National Journal, a week and a half before the speech Paul approached McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton—who is also Paul's nephew—about blocking the nomination of CIA director John Brennan.

The Republican leader had considered such a move beforehand, according to sources. But McConnell was glad to help "win over" other GOP senators to the idea on Paul's behalf in another attempt to show their solidarity.

"There were multiple discussions at senior staff levels about Senator Paul's plans to hold the Brennan nomination, and Sen. McConnell had agreed to hold, at the least, Mr. Brennan's confirmation to a 60 vote threshold," says Benton.

It was a masterful coordination that put the Obama administration's drone policy in the national spotlight, and put Senate Democrats on their heels.

But what Team Mitch was apparently unaware of was Paul's intention to actually perform a "talking" filibuster rather a "cloture." The reaction amongst McConnell surrogates has been a mix of admiration ("he's savvy") and apprehension ("it was shrewd").

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Politics
1:19 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Opposing Obama's CIA Nomination, Mitch McConnell Says Rand Paul Deserves Answer on Drones

Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is praising his Kentucky colleague Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster, and is now opposing President Obama's nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency.

Paul held up the confirmation of John Brennan for CIA director using an old-school filibuster. He continually asked for the administration to promise they will not use armed unmanned aircrafts to kill American citizens on U.S. soil.

In a letter sent Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder told Paul the administration had "no intention" to use drones on suspected terrorists in the U.S., but could do so in "extraordinary circumstances."

As the filibuster gained national attention and bipartisan support, McConnell and a number of GOP senators joined Paul's effort last night.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell says the White House has a responsibility to answer Paul’s questions  before the nomination goes forward.

"The United States military no more has the right to kill a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who is not a combatant with an armed unmanned aerial vehicle than it does with an M-16. The technology is beside the point. It simply doesn’t have that right and the administration should simply answer the question," he says.

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Politics
5:48 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Rand Paul Reticent About Potential Tea Party Challenger to Mitch McConnell

Rand Paul and Matthew Bevin
Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons and foxnews.com

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul isn’t sure if Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin would pose a problem for Mitch McConnell in a primary election.

The wealthy investor acknowledged an interest in taking on McConnell and has been in discussion with Tea Party groups. A Bevin spokeswoman said several individuals have voiced "frustration with their current representation" in Washington.

Speaking in downtown Louisville on Wednesday, Paul says he has been following news reports about the race but hasn't had a chance to speak with Bevin directly.

"I haven’t had any real discussions with him or others about it other than to say I’ve heard the same rumors," says Paul. "I’ve met him before and I’m pretty sure he’s a supporter of mine."

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Politics
2:07 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Yarmuth Calls for House Vote on Violence Against Women Act

Credit Phillip M. Bailey/WFPL

Joined by victims' advocates and domestic abuse survivors, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is calling on House Republican leaders to bring the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act up for a vote.

The bill ensures $659 million in federal funding over five years, and pays for services and legal aide for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It recently passed the Senate with a bipartisan 78-22 vote, but has lingered in the GOP-controlled House.

Yarmuth says it has been more than 500 days since lawmakers allowed the act to expire, and federal money for organizations such as the Louisville-based Center for Women & Families remain uncertain.

"In that time nearly 290,000 Americans, more than 90 percent of them women have been raped or sexually assaulted. That is appalling, and it is unconscionable that Congress has not reauthorized one of the most successful programs in combating this violence," he says.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Paul's Tea Party State of the Union Rebuttal Will Focus on Federal Debt

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen.Rand Paul will be one of two GOP senators providing a rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Paul is providing the tea party response to the annual address, while U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will provide the Republican Party's official response.

Both senators are considered potential presidential candidates in 2016. While they are hitting the national stage at the same time, Paul says he's not sure whether that makes both he and Rubio the new faces of the GOP.

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