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Public Statements

Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PAUL. My amendment is to rein in the FDA. I believe they have gotten overzealous in their duties. They do have important duties, but I think they have gotten overblown. My amendment has three parts.

First, it attempts to stop the FDA's overzealous regulation of vitamins, foods, and supplements by codifying the first amendment prohibition on prior restraint. What this means is the first amendment says we cannot restrain speech before it happens. This amendment also helps to make explicit that commercial speech is speech and should be protected.

Under current rules, the FDA prevents even the manufacturer of prune juice from saying that prune juice relieves constipation. I think that is an FDA that has gotten a little bit out of hand. I think that vitamin supplement manufacturers and distributors should be allowed to give us information and that the buyers should be allowed to review that information in making decisions about the product and that this speech should not be restricted.

Second, my amendment says the FDA doesn't need to be carrying weapons. I don't need to see bureaucrats carrying automatic weapons. If there are police officers necessary in the operation of their duties, I would rather have the FBI. The FDA does not need to be sending armed agents to the Amish farms to arrest a farmer for selling milk from the cow.

Third, my amendment fixes what needs to be fixed in a lot of regulatory crimes. We need to add in the component of mens rea. Mens rea means that when a person commits a crime and they put that person in jail, they have to prove that person had a guilty mind and had intent to commit a crime. So we add two words. If they are going to accuse a person of a crime, it has to be knowing and willful. These are very simple words, but they change the burden of the government. If the government is going to accuse a person of the crime, they need to know this. If Congress is going to criminalize conduct at a Federal level, as it does in the FDA Act, then the least we can do is add in the mens rea requirement.

Thank you. I urge support for my amendment.


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