Rand Paul On NPR: Disabilities Act Goes Too Far

May 20, 2010 7:44 a.m.

Rand Paul’s interview with NPR’s All Things Considered last night was the first sign the the freshly-minted Kentucky Republican Senate nominee might have some explaining to do today. The blogosphere is already alight with Paul’s interview with Rachel Maddow, but his interview on NPR shows that his libertarian views go deeper than just his take on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Speaking with NPR’s Robert Siegel, Paul made the case for less federal involvement in workplace and environmental regulation, including his opposition to some components of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Based on the NPR interview, Paul’s views seem to break down like this: a libertarian take on private freedom mixed with the tea party conservative-style frustration with the federal government. Rather than call for an end to all regulation of things like mining and energy production — a view that would likely jive with hardcore libertarians — Paul takes a tea party tack and calls for those things currently regulated by the federal government to be regulated by individual states instead.Here’s the interview in a nutshell, from Paul’s response to a question about whether or not he thinks the ADA is an example of federal “overreach”:

“I think a lot of things could be handled locally,” Paul told Siegel. “For example, I think that we should try to do everything we can to allow for people with disabilities and handicaps…I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who’s handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.”

The same logic applies to mining — a key industry in Kentucky — and evironmental regulation, Paul told NPR.

“I think that most manufacturing and mining should be under the purview of state authorities,” he said.

Paul said the EPA is a prime example of what’s gone wrong with federal regulation.

“It’s kind of interesting that, you know, when the EPA was originally instituted, it wasn’t even passed by Congress. It was passed as an executive order by Nixon,” Paul said. “And I think there is some overreach in the sense that the EPA now says: You know what, if Congress doesn’t pass greenhouse emissions regulations or testing, we’ll simply do it on our own. I think that’s an arrogance of a regulatory body ran amok.”

Paul says views like these are part of what makes him a unique candidate this year — and represent the vocal right that has been dominating the Republican political debate.

“Well, I think we have a Tea Party mandate,” Paul said. “And that Tea Party mandate is for good-government type of things, things like term limits, things like a balanced budget amendment, things like read the bills for goodness sakes, things like that maybe Congress should only pass legislation that they apply to themselves as well. Also, that each piece of legislation they pass should point to where in the Constitution they get the authority for it.”

Listen to the interview here:

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