GLASGOW – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul spoke with employees at Felker Brothers Corp. about the ways the federal government can help businesses plus other topics such as impeachment inquiry hearings, one of which was occurring as he was speaking, during his visit to Glasgow on Friday afternoon.
He said that people often yell at politicians to do their jobs.
“I guess it's important for me to know, 'What is the job? What is the job you want me to do?' And the way I look at it is this: I'm supposed to come and listen to you, come to your community and listen to your mayor, your leaders, your business folks, the people who run the businesses, and say, 'What can we do? What can government do to either allow the business to succeed so more people are employed, so people have better wages, etc., so that's one of the reasons why we go around the state,” Paul said. “Probably one the biggest sort-of policy decision that government did in the last couple of years, and they only do it probably once every decade or two, is looking at taxes. And one thing we did is we lowered taxes on businesses, like this business. It doesn't happen very often, but of the reasons I think it's a very good idea is that when your business has more money, they can hire more people. That's just the bottom line.”
The other reason is that if business taxes are too high here, companies start moving to other countries, he said, so lowering the taxes helps keep them here.
Regulations also have a significant impact on businesses, so in the past couple of years, “we actually repealed some of the regulatory burden.”
“Some regulations make sense, you know, wearing safety glasses. I know that because I was always taking metal out of people's eyes every week,” said Paul, an ophthalmologist by trade. “If you've ever had metal in your eye, you know why you're supposed to wear safety glasses.”
Other times, he said, the government over-regulates things that may not relate to safety.
“So it's looking to make sure regulations aren't excessive because there's a cost to regulations,” Paul said, adding that sometimes those costs get so high, it makes it difficult to operate and/or compete with other countries. “I think there are good things that we've done both on taxes and the regulatory front that are helping businesses, and I think your business is thriving.”
Attempting to keep trade fair is another approach to helping businesses, he said.
The senator spoke of the economy in general and signs it's doing well and wrapped up his initial comments by saying he was happy to be part of this and “to represent you.”
The Bowling Green Republican had made stops in Lexington and Campbellsville at other types of manufacturing facilities earlier in the day. After he was greeted by several company and local chamber of commerce representatives at Felker Brothers' Plant 1 along Beaver Trail, the group stood at the edge of the production area for a few minutes as Robert Steger, plant manager, briefly described some of the operations there. The company produces high-quality stainless-steel pipe and tubing that ranges in diameter from 2 inches to 24 inches.
From there, Paul went into a meeting with managers and other key individuals from the community, such as Glasgow Mayor Harold Armstrong, before emerging to briefly speak with employees and take questions afterward.
Steger asked him, “We know what's in the forefront of the news nowadays. What's going on behind the scenes that we can look forward to that's really not publicized?”
Paul said the one thing that's different than how it's reported is that in Washington, D.C., everyone is not always yelling at everyone else, and Republicans and Democrats do communicate and work together more often than the public is led to believe.
He mentioned a liberal/progressive colleague with which he agrees on certain kinds of things, like privacy regarding phone records and requiring a warrant for the government to be able to listen to phone conversations as well as requiring a congressional vote to go to war, and “you shouldn't go to war unless you have to.”
“We spend $51 billion a year in Afghanistan; that's money we could spend here at home,” Paul added with his statement the United States has been there too long.
Criminal justice reform to give people who have made mistakes with drug use a second chance is another thing he's worked on “across the aisle,” he said.
“Right now, everybody's angry over impeachment,” Paul said. “I think in the end, it will be a partisan vote and there won't be an impeachment, and I think it ought to all play out through elections, you know? If America wants a new president, they can get one in 11 months.”
The U.S. House is having hearings, the second of which was Friday, to gather testimony and information to decide whether to pursue articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, who is accused of abusing his power to his political and/or personal gain in withholding military weapons aid from Ukraine until the president there would agree to announce that he was initiating an investigation into Hunter Biden's role on the board of an oil and gas company operating there and/or any role his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, who is a Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential election, had in influencing whether an investigation took place prior to that.
Paul said that if everything becomes about criminalizing the presidency, it will further the division.
After a few other questions from employees, a member of the broadcast media asked Paul whether he'd heard anything from the impeachment inquiry to change his mind on his support of Trump.
He said it seems like everyone wants to influence what happens in Ukraine, from the president to Joe Biden.
“Presidents from the beginning of time have had the ability to withhold or suspend aid. There is a certain presidential prerogative in this,” Paul said.
While people may disagree with the president's delay of the aid, “did that make it against the law?” the senator said. “They ended up getting their aid and they never got the investigation.”
The aid was released in September, after questions had been swirling about whether the delay was legitimate and the whistleblower complaint about Trump's motivations and potential misuse of power that has been largely cited as the impetus for the impeachment inquiry had been filed.
Part of the rules of providing foreign aid is that the recipient can't be engaged in corruption, so it made sense for the president to hold off until it could be determined whether that was happening, Paul said.
“You can agree or disagree, but getting into an impeachment, it really looks like it's a political sort of exercise at this point and not something that someone should be impeached over,” he said.