Their Biographies, Issue Positions, Voting Records, Public Statements, Ratings and their Funders.
Card image cap

Rand Paul's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (KY) - Jr, Republican


Official Position: Candidate addressed this issue directly by taking the Political Courage Test.

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, but Vote Smart inferred this issue based on the candidate's public record, including statements, voting record, and special interest group endorsements.

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, or we could not infer an answer for this candidate despite exhaustive research of their public record.

Additional Information: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position, from their answers or Vote Smart's research.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as candidates submit them. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Rand Paul has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart and voters like you.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

For Presidential and Congressional candidates who refuse to provide voters with their positions, Vote Smart has researched their public records to determine their likely responses. These issue positions are from 2016.

  • "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." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "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." (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." (www.randpaul.com)
  • 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." (votesmart.org)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • "I propose we cut taxes for everyone — rich and poor." (www.randpaul.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." (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." (votesmart.org)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • "We must cut spending in all areas, particularly areas that are better run by state and local governments." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "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" (votesmart.org)
  • 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." (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." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "I propose we cut taxes for everyone — rich and poor." (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." (votesmart.org)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • "An overgrown federal bureaucracy, mandating standards and discounting local input will not lead to innovation. In order to compete with the rest of the world, our educational system needs innovation. Parents and teachers should play an active role in their child's education and should be encouraged to choose the most appropriate educational institution for their child. We should encourage a variety of educational formats--whether it's public, charter, private, religious, homeschool or online. Our children should not be constricted to a one-size-fits-all format, as implemented by Common Core." (votesmart.org)
  • Signed a letter stating "Mr. President, six years is too long. We urge you to approve the Keystone XL pipeline immediately." (votesmart.org)
  • "I support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and I have repeatedly voted to allow this project to proceed." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "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." (randpaul.com)
  • 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." (votesmart.org)
  • 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." (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." (votesmart.org)
  • "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." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "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!" (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." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • "I told them from the very beginning I was open to immigration reform as long as it was dependent on securing the border first. And I was very explicit about this. But apparently nobody listened or cared." (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." (www.randpaul.com)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • Voted in favor of S.744 "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" (votesmart.org)
  • "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." (votesmart.org)
  • "If the Iraqis will not fight for their own cities, I'm not for sending any American G.I.s there to do it. So if the American -- if the Iraqis won't fight for Mosul, they're not taking back Mosul. The Iraqis on the ground will have to fight." (votesmart.org)
  • "Mr. Paul, a likely presidential candidate who has emerged as one of the Republican Party's most cautious voices on military intervention, offered a very circumscribed definition of war in his proposal, which he outlined in an interview on Saturday. He would, for instance, limit the duration of military action to one year and significantly restrict the use of ground forces." (votesmart.org)
  • 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." (thinkprogress.org)
  • Slate "Paul, after all, had always been for personal accounts." (www.slate.com)

Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.