Rand Paul on Government Reform
Republican Kentucky Senator
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
I ended my speech that day with one simple line: "I'm Rand Paul and I approve this message."
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."
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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:
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.
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Senate races 2017-8:
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R) vs.Sinema(D) vs.Abboud(D) vs.McSally(R) vs.Arpaio(R) vs.Marks(L)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(I) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs.de_Leon(D)
CT: Murphy(D) vs.Adams(D) vs.Corey(R)
DE: Carper(D) vs.Arlett(R) vs.Truono(R) vs.
FL: Nelson(D) vs.
HI: Hirono(D) vs.Curtis(R) vs.
IN: Donnelly(D) vs.
MA: Warren(D) vs. Ayyadurai(I) vs.
MD: Cardin(D) vs.Campbell(R) vs.Vohra(L) vs.
ME: King(I) vs.Brakey(R) vs.Ringelstein(D) vs.Lyons(L)
MI: Stabenow(D) vs.
MN-6: Klobuchar(D) vs.Newberger(R) vs.Overby(G)
MO: McCaskill(D) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Monetti(R) vs.Hawley(R)
MS-2: vs.Hyde-Smith(R) vs. McDaniel(R) vs.Espy(D) vs.
MS-6: Wicker(R) vs.Baria(D) vs.
MT: Tester(D) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Rosendale(R)
ND: Heitkamp(D) vs.Peyer(D) vs.Cramer(R) vs.
NE: Fischer(R) vs.Raybould(D)
NJ: Menendez(D) vs.
NM: Heinrich(D) vs.Rich(R) vs.Johnson(L)
NV: Heller(R) vs.
NY: Gillibrand(D) vs.
OH: Brown(D) vs.
PA: Casey(D) vs.
RI: Whitehouse(D) vs.
TN: Corker(R) vs.Bredesen(D) vs.
TX: Cruz(R) vs.
UT: Hatch(R) vs.
VA: Kaine(D) vs.
VT: Sanders(I) vs.Milne(D) vs.MacGovern(D) vs.Paige(R) vs.Zupan(R)
WA: Cantwell(D) vs.Hutchison(R) vs.Ferguson(D) vs.Luke(L) vs.Strider(L)
WI: Baldwin(D) vs.Vukmir(R)
WV: Manchin(D) vs.
WY: Barrasso(R) vs.Trauner(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)