BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - U.S. Senator Rand Paul Thursday said Governor Andy Beshear should hold all responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of people out of work in Kentucky amid the pandemic.
Sen. Paul spoke with the 13 News from his Washington D.C. office Thursday.
"He shut down the economy and he's not being very open about letting us get back to work. So, the 700,000 people out of work should call Gov. Beshear and say 'Thanks a lot, but we don't want to continue to be out of work, you've got to let us get back to work.' It is a mistake to let one person run the economy. It is what we always objected to in the Soviet Union and what we objected to as socialism or what is called a command economy, where one person rules the economy." Sen. Paul said. "This is a huge mistake and we need to strip him of his emergency power as soon as possible and we need to let private businesses get back to making their own decisions on their private business."
He said the state legislature needs to go in and change those emergency statutes so all the power doesn’t go to one person. The state’s legislative session has ended for the year and they cannot come back unless called into session by the governor.
"I've talked to some people in the state legislature and I think, number one - it should be a super majority. You should have to have like a two-thirds vote of the Senate and the House and the emergency power I think should be shared between the Governor, the leader of the Senate, the leader of the House and then you'd have to have a majority vote of those three, but really even that should be limited to thirty days and then you should have to re-vote again and do the whole process because emergency powers are basically allowing dictatorial powers and that's not capitalism, that is not the American tradition and it has devastating results because this one person has become confused about this. Governor Beshear has allowed 700,000 people to be unemployed. This is a great tragedy and could have been avoided, but the tragedy is letting the concentration of power accumulate to one person and by all means, we have to get the state legislature to fix this emergency statute," Sen. Paul said.
Sen. Paul has also introduced legislation that would make it easier for small farms and ranches to provide locally-produced meats to consumers.
"The PRIME ACT is trying to get rid of federal government red tape to allow local producers of meat. As people have read about, the meat processors have to work close together in a cold environment and they've had a lot of the Coronavirus and some of the processing plants have been shut down. That's why when you go to the grocery store you are not seeing meat. There's plenty of cows, but now we're killing the cows because we can't get them to process, but most of the cows in Kentucky actually have to go to Kansas or Missouri and then they come back to your restaurant or your grocery store." Sen. Paul said.
Sen. Paul said he wants the PRIME ACT to pass to allow meat processors in Kentucky to sell meat directly to the restaurants and also to the grocery store.
"We would really like to get this thing started," said. Sen. Rand Paul. "This was introduced originally by Congressman Thomas Massie in the House and then I've introduced it in the Senate. I think right now in particular, If we have any more legislation I think this would be one that would really help the flow of meat so we don't have shortages of meat in our grocery stores."
Sen. Paul was asked about the Michael Flynn 'unmasking' controversy. He says he objects to the whole process.
"I particularly object to Joe Biden. I think doing it for political reasons, unmasking this General Flynn who was the Chief Advisor to his political opponent. So, I think it is an abuse of government power to go after your political opponents with the spying powers. I've been talking about this since before there was a President Trump because I think this is an abuse of power that can affect either party and it could affect any of our privacy. No one should be able to listen to your phone call without a legitimate warrant and unmasking is an end run around the Constitution."
"Unmasking" occurs after U.S. citizens' conversations are incidentally picked up in conversations with foreign officials who are being monitored by the intelligence community. The U.S. citizens' identities are supposed to be protected if their participation is incidental and no wrongdoing is suspected. However, officials can determine the U.S. citizens' names through a process that is supposed to safeguard their rights. In the typical process, when officials are requesting the "unmasking" of an American, they do not necessarily know the identity of the person in advance.
Paul says the situation involving Flynn's phone calls violates the Constitution.
"Many on the left are saying, 'No big deal, no harm no foul. Even the Trump administration is unmasking lots of people.' I object to the process of unmasking, particularly of thousands of American phone calls. I think if you want to unmask, which basically is just a word for eavesdrop, if you want to listen to someone's phone call you should get a warrant which means you go to a judge, not a FISA judge, you go to a real judge in a constitutional court, you present probable cause that a crime is occurring. That is a tough standard, but that is the fourth amendment because we historically didn't want people to listen to our phone conversations."
"It also makes it open to abuse and the fact that a dozen of the Obama administration were listening to Flynn's phone call after they'd already left office, it was a week or two before the inauguration, sounds to me suspicious of political chicanery," Sen. Paul said.
Sen. Paul went on to say there are good common-sense guidelines that people can use if they are at high risk for the virus to avoid risky behavior.
"But, the economy needs to open. The peak of this virus has peaked throughout the country and is on the decline. There still will be a virus, but there are deaths every year from infectious disease. I am not downplaying it, my goodness if it is your family or your loved one it is a huge deal. Nothing is bigger if it is your family," Sen. Paul said.
Sen. Paul says, however, that we also have to put into context numbers and percentages in when deciding when to open.
"I think we do need to open. There was an article this week that said that people are avoiding their cancer screenings because the hospitals haven't been open. They're not getting colonoscopies, they're not getting mammograms, and so there's a lot of cancer that's detected in people's lives who are saved by being able to go to the hospital."
Sen. Paul says by Governor Beshear preventing people from going to the hospital for the last two months, it undoubtedly is going to lead to people having advance diagnosis of cancer when they go in to the hospital for a scan.
"We want to try and prevent that. They only way to do that is we've got to open up things. We've got to allow the hospitals to work and we should allow businesses to work so people can begin earning a living again."
Sen. Paul tested positive for COVID-19 in March. He was the first U.S. Senator to test positive for the virus. Sen. Paul fully recovered from the virus at the beginning of April.
"I was very lucky, I was one of the people who never got any symptoms, never had a fever, never had a cough. There was a nationwide study in the Netherlands, and they found that most people under 60, like 96 or 97 percent of people were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and this is good news that we can survive this virus and that many many many people will survive," Sen. Paul said. "It's still deadly and it is sad when people do die, but overall our population, our kids, our neighbors, our friends, they're going to survive this and we can pull through this and I think I'm an example of the many people who end up not having too bad of symptoms from this."