Senator Rand Paul's Political Positions

Office: U.S. Senate (KY) - Jr, Republican
On The Ballot: Announced, Republican for President
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Rand Paul has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads. Rand Paul is still welcome to submit the test at any time.

What is the Political Courage Test?

This candidate has demonstrated 0% courage during the test.

*Note: This percentage is calculated based on the number of issue areas addressed by the candidate on the Political Courage Test at the conclusion of the testing period. It does not indicate support or lack of support by Project Vote Smart.

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Vote Smart's Research

  • ""The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known- that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection from that point forward," Sen. Paul said. "The right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence and ensuring this is upheld is the Constitutional duty of all Members of Congress."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/775127/sen-paul-introduces-the-life-at-conception-act#.VPDDkKC0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "I strongly believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that life begins at conception and that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being. Under the 14th Amendment, it is the government's duty to protect life as defined in our Constitution." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/sanctity-of-life (www.randpaul.com)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "My plan will also cut spending and balance the budget in just five years. It will be the largest tax cut in American history and a tax cut that will leave more money in the paychecks of every worker in America." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/taxes (www.randpaul.com)
  • "I'm a likely no, because there's a lot of new spending in it, also. And there's going to be tax increases, which I think are bad for the economy. There's also going to be increases in spending. We have a spending problem up here. And instead of trying to restrain spending, they took entitlements off the table and they've actually added in new spending. There will be new spending in this bill, which I think is the wrong direction to take the country in."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/761594/cnn-the-situation-room-trancript-the-fiscal-cliff-debate/?search=tax%20increase#.VPh7-qC0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • CNN "The Situation Room" Transcript: The Fiscal Cliff Debate "BLITZER: But the president is saying that he is now willing to do what the Republicans asked back in 2001, 2003, make those Bush tax cuts permanent. And he's saying yes, the Democrats now have agreed. Democrats say they will be permanent. There will be no tax increases for 99 percent, for people making under $450,000 a year. Those will be permanent taxes. You support that. But because 1 percent are going to have to pay a little more, they're going to go from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, if you're making more than $450,000 a year, you're going to be willing to see all those millions of other middle class families suffer? PAUL: It's actually not that. Actually, if it were only that bill, Wolf, if it were just protecting the 99 percent, well, I want to protect 100 percent. I would vote for a bill that protected 99 percent. Heck, I'd probably vote for a bill that protected 80 percent, because I want to protect anybody from big government. But the thing is, is it's not just that. They're heaping on new spending. So, not only are they raising taxes, maybe on a small percentage of people, but a large amount of money, but they're also going to spend more money."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/761594/cnn-the-situation-room-trancript-the-fiscal-cliff-debate/?search=tax%20increase#.VPh7-qC0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "On Wednesday, I testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and described the injustice and effects of mandatory-minimum sentences. These sentences are disproportionally affecting minorities and low-income communities."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/814310/the-washington-times-the-devastating-collateral-damage-of-an-insidious-drug-war-weapon/?search=mandatory#.VPDEE6C0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • MSNBC "Several leading Republicans have backed sentencing reform, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush." http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-long-push-prison-sentencing-reform (www.msnbc.com)
  • "Judges can depart from mandatory minimum sentencing laws if they find that it is in the best interests of justice to do so. This would increase judicial discretion and allow judges to make individualized determinations about the proper punishment for defendants." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/criminal-justice-reforms (www.randpaul.com)
  • "I will continue to fight to end the racial disparities in drug sentencing. I will continue to fight lengthy, mandatory sentences that prevent judges from using discretion. I will continue to fight to restore voting rights for non-violent felons who've served their sentences."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/939568/time-rand-paul-the-politicians-are-to-blame-in-ferguson/?search=mandatory#.VPDEEKC0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We must cut spending in all areas, particularly areas that are better run by state and local governments." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/spending-and-debt
  • Signed a pledge stating "The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country's sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/667797/contract-from-america/?search=limited%20gov (votesmart.org)
  • "In the new Congress, Republicans, the party of limited government, should propose legislation to eliminate the funding of wasteful projects--and focus on smart investments instead" http://votesmart.org/public-statement/950029/politico-magazine-no-the-gop-is-not-at-war-with-science/?search=limited%20gov#.VPTfKqC0SXU (www.randpaul.com)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "This is the opposite of what the president wants. The president wants more tax money in Washington. I want more money left in the communities, particularly poor communities, particularly communities that have high unemployment. So I would fix the problem by leaving money in the productive sector. And this is a fundamental disagreement between the president and I. The president wants that money to go to Washington. I want to leave it in your community."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/947864/fox-hannity-transcript-obamas-budget#.VPTcZqC0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "My plan will also cut spending and balance the budget in just five years. It will be the largest tax cut in American history and a tax cut that will leave more money in the paychecks of every worker in America." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/taxes (www.randpaul.com)
  • "I went to Detroit last year and I told them, you know what? I'll leave $1.3 billion in Detroit, a $1.3 billion stimulus, by not taxing you. By lowering your taxes dramatically, that tax would never leave Detroit, never come to Washington and would stay there."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/947864/fox-hannity-transcript-obamas-budget#.VPTcZqC0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I believe in more local control over education, where states, localities, and parents can play a much more significant role in their children's schooling. The federal government has simply used its power to disregard parental rights, restrict teachers, and leave kids with an unsatisfactory education, unable to compete in a quickly advancing world. Innovation in education will never come from an overgrown federal bureaucracy, mandating standards and discounting local input." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/989230/issue-position-promoting-opportunity-through-education#.VbJu0HUViko (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating "Mr. President, six years is too long. We urge you to approve the Keystone XL pipeline immediately." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/921964/letter-to-barack-obama-president-of-the-united-states-keystone-xl-permit/?search=keystone#.VPSz26C0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "I support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and I have repeatedly voted to allow this project to proceed." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/energy

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Washington's bureaucratic regulations, corporate subsidies, and excessive taxation have made it unnecessarily difficult for energy developers to take advantage of new and innovative forms of cheap and clean energy. Cutting the red tape and encouraging energy freedom, new technologies, and discoveries will be a priority in my administration. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses to compete in a free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the cost savings to the consumer." https://randpaul.com/issue/energy
  • Signed a letter stating "Seeking to develop alternative energy technologies is a necessary goal in the long-term, but it is not sufficient for our nation's current and foreseeable needs."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/664351/letter-to-president-obama/?search=alternative%20energy#.VPTbqaC0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating "With consumers again facing $4.00/gallon gasoline, the EPA is pursuing job-killing greenhouse gas regulations that, like the failed cap-and-trade legislation, will serve as an energy tax on every consumer. The Affordable Power Alliance recently studied the impacts of this action and found that the price of gasoline and electricity could increase as much as 50 percent. To make matters worse, the EPA acknowledges that unilateral action by the United States will have no impact on the world's climate, as China and India dramatically increase their emissions."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/601845/letter-to-barack-obama-president-of-the-united-states-gas-prices/?search=greenhouse#.VPDFk6C0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I will not support any proposed gun control law which would limit the right to gun ownership by those who are responsible, law-abiding citizens." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/second-amendment (votesmart.org)
  • "In the gun control debate, we all want more safety and less madness. But we must write legislation that targets the lawbreakers, not law-abiding gun owners. We must enforce current laws that are routinely ignored, instead of rushing to enact new laws that would do nothing to prevent these tragedies and would feasibly make the public more vulnerable."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/780110/courier-journal-sen-rand-paul-on-his-gun-votes#.VPDEwKC0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "What ObamaCare did was take some of the things we did for the poor and expanded the government to basically the whole marketplace. That I think will ultimately bankrupt the country and then nobody will have good health care."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/947918/fox-on-the-record-with-greta-van-susteren-transcript-affordable-care-act/?search=obamacare#.VPTanqC0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "President Obama's fundamental promise that if you like your doctor you can keep them--was a lie. Obamacare, at its core, takes away a patient's right to choose. Under Obamacare, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctor or their insurance. Today, more Americans may have medical insurance, but Americans are now paying more money for worse care. The relationship between doctor and patient is withering. Doctors are fleeing the profession they love. Hospitals are straining, closing, or refusing to accept Obamacare policies. Everyone knows our health care system needed reforming, but it was the wrong prescription to choose more government instead of more consumer choice and competition. Obamacare restricts freedom and must be repealed!"http://votesmart.org/public-statement/949915/breitbart-rand-pauls-response-to-obamas-2015-state-of-the-union-address/?search=obamacare#.VPTak6C0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "I was not a member of the United States Senate during the 111th Congress, but if I had been I would have voted against Obamacare. As your President, one of my first acts would be to repeal the abomination that is Obamacare." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/health-care (www.randpaul.com)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I do not support amnesty, which is why I don't support our current system with no border security and a blind eye to the problem."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/878082/breitbart-rand-paul-secure-the-border#.VPTZTaC0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "I do not support amnesty, but rather I support a legal immigration process. I recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the American Dream and have a desire for a better life. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge, and this threatens our national security." http://www.randpaul.com/issue/immigration (www.randpaul.com)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I do believe in traditional marriage, Kentucky has decided it, and I don't think the federal government should tell us otherwise. There are states that have decided in the opposite fashion, and I don't think the federal government should tell anybody or any state government how they should decide this. Marriage has been a state issue for hundreds and hundreds of years."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/774405/fox-news-fox-news-sunday-with-chris-wallace-transcript-rand-paul-filibuster-immigration-same-sex-marriage-and-the-budget/?search=same%20sex#.VPTMVKC0SXU (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • "There will be message of discussion of drones. I think that it's dangerous not to have due process for American citizens. I'm not against using drones. I'm not against them as a military weapon. If we can save our soldiers' lives by using them, by all means, let's use drones in the military. But I have some questions about killing noncombatants and also questions particularly about killing Americans who might be on vacation somewhere. I have asked this question of the president repeatedly, is there some kind of process? Do we not get our day in court? I think it's very important that we do. And I will continue to argue for that."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/854591/fox-on-the-record-with-greta-van-susteren-transcript-thoughts-on-current-issues/?search=drone#.VPh9SaC0SXU
  • "Some anger is blowback, but some anger originates in an aberrant and intolerant distortion of religion that wages war against all infidels. We can't be sentimental about neutralizing that threat, but we also can't be blind to the fact that drone strikes that inadvertently kill civilians may create more jihadists than we eliminate. The young activist Malala Yousafzai, whom the Taliban in Pakistan shot in the head at point-blank range for insisting that girls have the right to attend school, voiced this concern when she met with President Obama. She said: "It is true that when there's a drone attackĀ…terrorists are killed. But 500 and 5,000 more people rise against it and more terrorism occurs." The truth is, you can't solve a dignity problem with military force. It was Secretary Gates who warned that our foreign policy has become over-militarized. Yes, we need a hammer ready, but not every civil war is a nail. There is a time to eliminate our enemies, but there is also a time to cultivate allies and encouragers among civilized Muslim nations."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/932263/sen-paul-gives-foreign-policy-address-at-center-for-the-national-interest/?search=drone#.VPh9NqC0SXU (votesmart.org)
  • "She remains non-committal on the legality of drone strikes against American citizens, while I believe such strikes unequivocally violate rights granted to us by the Sixth Amendment."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/950021/sen-rand-paul-to-oppose-loretta-lynch-for-us-attorney-general/?search=drone#.VPh9O6C0SXU (www.randpaul.com)

Vote Smart's Research

  • ThinkProgress "Paul's budget would raise the Social Security eligibility age and gives workers the option of private accounts, an idea that would demolish workers' savings during economic downturns. An October 2008 retiree, for instance, would have lost $26,000 in a private Social Security account during the Great Recession, according to one study. Paul's plan would also privatize Medicare, going a step farther than even Paul Ryan's House Republican budget did and driving up the cost of health care for seniors even more."http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/03/25/1771561/the-5-worst-things-about-rand-pauls-budget-proposal/ (votesmart.org)
  • Slate "Paul, after all, had always been for personal accounts."http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/04/13/rand_paul_introduces_non_privatization_social_security_reform.html (votesmart.org)

Key

Candidate Answer Official Position

Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.

Inferred Answer Inferred Position

Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.

Unknown Answer Unknown Position

Candidate refused to address this issue.

 Project Vote Smart's Research

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