After he asked Biden to help his own state of Kentucky, Rand Paul lashed out at critics who brought up his history of opposing disaster relief bills

Sen. Rand Paul at a Senate hearing
Sen. Rand Paul prepares to hear Secretary of State Antony Blinken testify during a Senate Foreign Relations Hearing to examine the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan on Capitol Hill on September 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Historic tornadoes devastated the midwest, especially Kentucky. 
  • GOP Sen. Rand Paul sent a letter to President Joe Biden to ask for disaster relief. 
  • Critics were quick to call out his history of opposing disaster aid for other states. 

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul lashed out at critics who called him a hypocrite for requesting federal funds when his state was devasted by tornadoes, but he has a lengthy history of opposing disaster relief bills, The Washington Post reported. 

On Saturday, the morning after a storm created historic tornadoes, Paul wrote President Joe Biden a letter asking him to move “expeditiously to approve the appropriate resources for our state.”

The most damage and destruction hit Kentucky, with more than 70 people killed.

Critics were quick to call out that the letter was in contrast to Paul’s rigid opposition to federal disaster relief efforts in the past. 

“We should do all we can to help our Kentucky neighbors. God be with them — they are hurting. But do not for one second forget that @RandPaul has voted against helping most Americans most times they’re in need,” Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell wrote in a tweet

Following Superstorm Sandy in 2013, Paul opposed a disaster relief measure for the Northeast and told WFPL that while the area needed help, he’d like to offset the cost with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. 

“I would have given them $9 billion and I would’ve taken the $9 billion from somewhere else,” Paul said at the time.”I would have taken it from foreign aid and said you know what, we don’t have money for Egypt or Pakistan this year because we have to help the Northeast.”

In 2017, Paul opposed a disaster relief bill for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. 

“People here will say they have great compassion and they want to help the people of Puerto Rico, the people of Texas, and the people of Florida but notice they have great compassion with someone else’s money,” Paul said in a speech on the Senate floor at the time. 

On Saturday Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said she’s glad Paul has finally realized that “states needing federal assistance after a disaster isn’t gritty, wasteful or being ‘compassionate with someone else’s money.'”

“We are one Nation and should always be able to count on one another regardless of your state’s politics. This is America,” Omar said. 

Paul told the Post on Tuesday that he’s routinely requested emergency aid for Kentucky and that he has “never been opposed to the program, ever.” He said he was opposed to using “borrowed” money to fund disaster relief and not offsetting the cost elsewhere in the federal budget.

“That’s different than saying, ‘Oh, he now wants it because it’s in his state and he never wanted it [before],’ ” Paul told the Post. “I’ve never opposed anybody’s disaster relief in any other state. I’ve just asked that it be paid for.”

In July, Paul also opposed the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act, which would have given $1.1 billion in federal aid for people impacted by hurricanes Laura and Delta. That bill even had a financial offset of using some of the $80 billion in proceeds from a 2020 radio spectrum auction, the Post reported. 

While critics are lashing on to Paul’s hypocrisy, lawmakers across the aisle have called for funds to help tornado victims. 

“I have always voted for disaster aid, and we shouldn’t hold it against disaster victims when their politicians are not doing their job,” Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, whose state of Illinois was also impacted by the tornado told the Post.

Paul’s office did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication. 


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