Posted by on August 4, 2017

Senator Rand Paul had a very busy week leading up to the Senate’s August recess. From health care to civil asset forfeiture to national defense, Senator Paul is standing up for Americans and defending the Constitution.

Healthcare

On Tuesday, Senator Paul wrote an op-ed for the Hill in which he calls for the Department of Labor “to revise its rules to allow virtually any group to become a group for insurance purposes.”

The idea behind the concept is to allow individuals and small businesses to pool together in larger groups allowing them the ability to compete for lower prices. Senator Paul elaborates:

“From the Chamber of Commerce to the credit unions, from the NRA to the ACLU, from the Realtors to the Restaurant association, there are many groups who could almost immediately begin to offer insurance to their members. Can you imagine if hundreds of thousands, if not MILLIONS, of Americans would leave the group or small business market and join together in a large, powerful organization?

The problems of the individual market would be over. Job-killing mandates and burdensome regulations on insurance would be unnecessary, because the consumer would have power over the big insurance companies.

No longer would you be left alone to fight your battles with them.”

Perhaps most importantly, Senator Paul has a very important ally on this issue, President Trump. The two men have been speaking frequently on the topic and the President has even directed the Secretary of Labor to start working with Senator Paul’s staff to make it work.

The Trump administration should act on Senator Paul’s suggestion immediately and change the Department of Labor rules to make health care more affordable for Americans in the individual marketplace. Then Congress should keep their word to the American people and repeal ObamaCare once and for all.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

As we detailed in our recent blog, civil asset forfeiture is government theft from innocent Americans. Thankfully, Senator Rand Paul is one of the leading opponents of this deplorable policy and is leading the charge for reform in our nation’s capital.

On Wednesday, Senator Paul penned another op-ed at Rare.us in which he highlights how civil asset forfeiture turns justice on its head by removing the bedrock principle of American jurisprudence, “innocent until proven guilty”:

“A major problem with civil forfeiture is that it does not reflect the fundamental presumption of innocence that is vital to our nation’s criminal justice system. The Fifth Amendment protects Americans from being deprived of their property without due process of law, yet civil forfeiture allows the government to take an individual’s property without first proving guilt. To add insult to injury, as Justice Clarence Thomas recently wrote, ‘These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings.'”

As Senator Paul goes on to point out, the federal government seized more assets from Americans than burglars did in 2014. When the government is the biggest thief in our country, we have a serious problem.

The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act [S. 642/H.R. 1555] was introduced by Senator Paul earlier this year, and would provide the most sweeping civil asset forfeiture reforms in decades, restoring “innocent until proven guilty” and eliminating the federal “equitable sharing program” that allows states to skirt their own laws by sharing profits with the feds.

National Defense

Following Senate Republicans failed attempt to pass skinny ObamaCare repeal around 2 a.m. ET Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader immediately moved for unanimous consent to move on the 2017 National Defense Authorization bill, otherwise known at the NDAA.

Senator Rand Paul objected because he wants two bipartisan amendments to the bill: one ending indefinite detention and one ending the 2001 authorization of military force we are still using to fight wars in the Middle East.

To defend his position, Senator Paul released this op-ed today in the Daily Caller aptly titled, “Make Defense Policy Constitutional Again.”

“There are too many in my caucus who have not met a war they didn’t want to be in, and not met a right they were not willing to give up in the name of security. That’s why, as this bill was moving forward in the Senate, I asked for two amendments to the Defense bill (NDAA):

1.  Sunset the 2001/2002 Authorizations for Use of Force that were passed before Afghanistan and Iraq. We should not be in either country right now, but if we must be, we should debate a new authorization and get congressional approval for any war we engage in.

2. Ban the practice of indefinite detention. Our Bill of Rights protects the right to a trial and to know what you are accused of. Wartime or not, Americans deserve to have our rights protected.

These amendments are bipartisan. They’re important. And the discussion on them is long overdue. I’ve attempted to engage on these issues for several years now on the NDAA, and I’ve been thwarted each time by the bill manager and Senate leadership.”

These blatant constitutional violations have been long overlooked by Republicans and Democrats alike, but now Senator Paul is working with both sides of the aisle to reach a bipartisan consensus against the establishment in both parties.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, but that doesn’t mean that authorization for war can be used forever. And it certainly doesn’t mean the authorization of force passed before Afghanistan or Iraq in 2001 should cover the current fight against the Islamic state. Congress should debate and pass a new authorization if we are going to continue sending our bravest men and women to war.

Indefinite detention of Americans is unconstitutional, but that didn’t stop Congress from allowing it under the NDAA a few years back. The right to a trial, and to know what you’ve been accused of, is a bedrock principle of freedom in America. Senator Paul is correct again, indefinite detention needs to be ended immediately.

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