Rand Paul’s visit to Somerset on Wednesday included a discussion with local leaders on Washington-related topics, including a Supreme Court ruling against the EPA, economic issues, foreign spending, gun control and his thoughts on the potential key players in the 2024 presidential election.
The discussion took place in the CoreTrans building, just after the company was honored by Paul for being the US Senate’s Small Business of the Week.
Paul addressed the topics during a fireside chat led by Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobby Clue, asking for Paul’s opinion on recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
The most significant decision, in Paul’s eyes, was the one against the EPA in which the court said the agency had not been authorized by Congress to adopt policies aimed at reducing emissions from power plants.
Paul said he hoped the decision would pave the way to prevent other agencies from overstepping the authority granted to them by Congress.
“It is not the presumption that the regulations are legal and compliant. The presumption is going to be that the law says “this” and you have to prove that you comply with it. Changing that burden, I think, is going to change a lot of the excessive regulations that we have now,” Paul said.
He acknowledged that the blame for allowing agencies to make regulations lies with Congress itself for giving agencies the ability to write the rules. The problem, he said, was that the head of those agencies could write those rules any way he wanted without further scrutiny from Congress.
“We have over 100 regulations every year that cost the economy $100 million each,” Paul said, adding to the country’s overspending problems.
And speaking of financial troubles, Paul took President Joe Biden’s administration to task for the current inflation and the actions that led up to it.
“I think people get very, very upset when it costs them over $100 to put gas in their car,” Paul said. “And I think they’re rightly blaming the party that’s running the White House and Congress right now. Inflation, to me, is very simple, and it’s because of too much money for too few goods.
He said part of the blame lies with the stimulus checks Biden sent out last year, calling them “false hope” and a “bait and switch.”
These funds have now been swallowed up by the current rate of inflation, he said. “Not only are you losing what the government supposedly gave you in those checks, but unfortunately we’re going to have the ultimate recovery, and that could be a recession.”
Paul also addressed the US government’s spending on foreign aid, in which he pointed out that the US needs to borrow that money and “put it on our bill” because it doesn’t have the money in its own coffers.
“We give $30 billion every year in foreign aid. … We borrow money to send it abroad. I would eliminate all foreign aid until we have a surplus,” Paul said.
This includes current aid to Ukraine, which so far amounts to approximately $60 billion.
“It’s not that I’m unsympathetic,” Paul said. “Look, I don’t like Putin invading. If I was there, I would shoot him too if I was a Ukrainian. But we give money that we borrow from China to send to Ukraine. So it’s not good for us fiscally, and we have problems in our country.
Paul told the group he believed there was a good chance the Republican Party would win back the House of Representatives, but a 50% chance of winning the Senate in the midterm elections.
As for who could run for president on each side? Paul was less sure.
“I think there’s a good chance that Donald Trump will run again,” he said. “I think there is a reasonable chance [Florida Governor Ron] DeSantis could run, even if Donald Trump runs.
When asked specifically if Trump could win, Paul said it was possible for the Republican nomination, but he’s not sure if Trump can retake the presidency.
“I don’t know. Biden is incredibly unpopular, and the polls show that right now Trump might actually beat him. The difficulty Trump has to overcome is how many people do you know who haven’t opinion on Donald Trump? That’s kind of the problem, that there are people in the middle and you have to persuade them of your ideas. Forty percent of Republicans in the country, 40 percent are Democrats and there are has about 20% in the middle. They all already have an opinion. Some of them supported Trump – he won the first election and the second was pretty close – so I don’t know the answer.
What does he think of the Democratic side? “I can’t imagine Biden running. And I don’t think [Vice President Kamala] Harris is very popular either. It will be interesting. This will be the first time you have an incumbent president and have a wide open primary. »
Another issue currently on the minds of Americans is the availability and safety of firearms, especially in light of recent tragic shootings like the one in Allen, Ky., which claimed the lives of three law enforcement officers. order and a K9.
Paul was asked how he thought it was possible to keep law enforcement and civilians safe without more regulation on the sale of firearms.
His solution has been to prosecute people – especially young people – who give warning signs that they might turn violent.
“You keep hearing about these kids, and ‘Well, he’s had three run-ins with the police.’ How come no one sued them The kid from Buffalo [Payton Gendron] said he was going to kill his classmates and himself. It’s a crime. I see no condemnation. Why didn’t they prosecute him?
“It’s not so much about red flag laws or gun restrictions. Let’s start prosecuting kids who threaten other kids. It’s a crime, you have no right to do that. … As much as I’m for the Second Amendment, I’m more insistent on prosecuting children who send these signals.