Kentucky libertarian Sen. Rand Paul was not entirely successful with his amendments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) User Fee Reauthorization Bill before it passed the Senate Thursday by a 96 to 1 vote.


The bill, setting user-fees to provide about half of FDA’s $4.5 billion budget for next year, showed the Senate can fully debate, amend and pass a needed law.

Paul was fully engaged in the process with multiple amendments. One – to disarm FDA agents, stop raids on natural food stores and Amish farms and end the agency’s scrutiny of truthful claims for dietary supplements – received only 15 votes.

But Paul did get his language included in the bill that forces FDA to accept data from clinical investigations conducted outside of the U.S., including the European Union, because Paul says it will speed getting life-saving drugs to the market.

Paul hailed passage of the bill because it contained some of his words.

“Innovation in clinical drug trials should not be confined to the data received from trials in the United States. Findings from countries that incorporate the same rigorous requirements as we do when developing life-saving drugs and devices should be accepted by the FDA as well,” Paul said. “I am proud to see this important step being taken to increase the treatment options of millions of Americans currently hampered by outdated laws.”

But Paul clearly had much enthusiasm for amendment No. 2143, which he lost.

“I think we have too many armed federal agencies, and that we need to put an end to this,” Paul said, adding that criminal law is increasingly being used as  a tool by the “government bureaucracy to punish and control honest businessmen for simply attempting to make a living.” 

“Historically the criminal law was intended to punish only the most horrible offenses that everyone agreed were inherently wrong or evil, offenses like rape, murder, theft, arson – but now we’ve basically federalized thousands of activities and called them crimes,” he continued.  “If bureaucrats need to involve the police, let’s have them use the FBI, but I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.”

Most “raids” involving FDA are seizures and searches conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service, who are charged with implementing federal court orders.  FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations is an armed federal police force created by Congress in 1992.

Paul’s amendment also would have added the words “knowing” and willful” into various prohibited acts regulated by FDA. The effect would have been to make it more difficult to bring prosecutions.

A third section would have prevented FDA from curbing the marketing of dietary supplements with unproven claims about mitigative and curative effects.

The Kentucky senator is the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Like his father, he is also a medical doctor, practicing as a ophthalmologist and eye surgeon for 18 years before winning election to the Senate.

  • Sirsilius

    Does anyone have a list of the morons who voted AGAINST amendment No. 2143! I would love to know who they are!

  • JustTheFacts

    Maybe you should get your facts straight before you print an article? Rand Paul is the REPUBLICAN Senator from KY not a Libertarian. sheesh.

  • Marco

    Which 15 senators voted for 2143 could you list them? They must be mentally unbalanced. They would bear watching in the future to prevent them doing anything foolish like consulting fortune tellers or using an Ouija board to decide vitally important national issues. We need to crack down on fraudulent health claims by supplement sellers and FDA needs to continue enforcing food safety laws including raiding contraband markets of scofflaws. If any of the 15 are up for re-election this fall we need to know so we don’t miss an opportunity to purge them from the legislative process to protect our nation’s welfare.

  • Rand Paul is small ‘l’ libertarian, JustTheFacts. Just like Dan is, I’m presuming, because this is the only thing that would explain why this publication is the only one that links this bill as a victory to Rand Paul.
    I’m actually astonished at this article. Why? Because libertarianism and food safety don’t mix.

  • Lies, damned lies, and facts

    Rand Paul is a Republican who DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS A LIBERTARIAN. Maybe you should get your facts straight before pointing fingers?
    ‘Like his father, the son also favors notions of limited government. “Libertarian would be a good description,” Rand Paul told CNN, “because libertarians believe in freedom in all aspects of your life – your economic life as well as your social life as well as your personal life.”‘

  • Thomas

    Can someone… anyone PLEASE explain… HOW… the Rand Paul amendment to disarm the FDA and allow farmers to sell their own milk could fail so completely…. Please post it here too so we at PP can learn why the effort to reign in the FDA failed so spectacularly..!! &&&&& What is going on… in Michigan where the Ag. Dept there is going to farms giuns drawn and killing healthy pigs for possessing “some wild traits”………????
    Go here to inform, another interested audience too please:

  • John McGrath

    Here is the vote on the Paul Amendment:
    This was a vote to table the amendment, so a “No” vote is in support of the amendment.

  • Peter S.

    Hmmm…9 of the 15 are teabaggers. only 3 of the 15 come around for re-election by 2016. Looks like we will be unwillingly revisiting this time-wasting anti-science wingnuttery on the legislative dockets for years to come.
    What a shame when we have so many significant national and global issues to resolve. Instead congress farts around pushing to endorse ridiculous hocus-pocus quack remedies. Fiddling while Rome burns. A sad, sad time for America!

  • I’m quite pleased not a single Democrat voted in favor of the Paul amendment. It’s good to see that they’ve stopped catering to the libertarian fringe.
    Paul knew this amendment had no chance. It was so far out there, he knew it had no chance. He’s just doing his usual grandstanding–trying to pretend he’s just as good as his Dad.
    And though the POM Wonderful folks might agree with Paul, most of us don’t want to have to sift lies from facts when we’re buying products.
    The FDA has an enforcement branch…this is probably because of the fact that people break laws.
    It’s kind of a funny thing–if you create a law, we actually have to enforce it. Life is weird that way.
    Having come from the animal welfare movement attempting to close down puppy mills, I’m not as overfond of the Amish as some folk seem to be. Regardless, if the Amish want to live in this country, they have to obey the same laws as everyone else.

  • The FDA is in the pockets of big business. With so much authority, these guys rub out everything that isn’t by the book. The best example is Dr. Burzynski, featured on 60 minutes. This guy has found the cure for cancer…but the FDA has blocked him every step of the way. Why? He can’t even get a straight answer. I encourage you, if you care about people to check this guy out. For you people preaching safety, it isn’t about safety here, it’s about control. People didn’t die from drinking raw milk 100 years ago! We didn’t need the FDA to regulate things like that! Who needs the gov’t to carry around guns to shut down a mom and pop farm, seriously!

  • John, I hate to break this to you…but people died from drinking milk a hundred years ago.
    I found the following review of the Burzynski movie and his towk to be well written and well reasoned. I always keep the link handy when a Burzynski fan shows up in comments.