Sen. Paul rails against 'do-nothing' Senate
May 21st, 2011
05:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Sen. Paul rails against 'do-nothing' Senate

(CNN) - Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul railed against his colleagues Friday, saying the Senate’s inaction sometimes makes him want to return his paycheck.

“We go week after week in the Senate and do nothing. I feel like sometimes I should return my check because I go up, they do no votes and no debate,” the freshman senator griped during an interview on “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“We go up week to week, and there's no debate in Congress, no debate in the Senate. We sit idly by,” he continued.

Paul’s frustration stems from his attempt to introduce a resolution challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. military operation in Libya. The motion was tabled 90-10.

“They don't want to have any debate. I'm asking right now to vote on Libya. I have a resolution saying we're in violation of the War Powers Act. It's hard for me to get the floor unless I somehow sneak on the floor when no one is looking to try to get a vote,” Paul said.

The 1973 War Powers Act says that if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days. Obama formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which made Friday the 60-day deadline.

Shortly after Paul’s interview, CNN learned that the president sent another letter Friday to congressional leaders expressing support for the bipartisan resolution that Obama said is being drafted in the Senate. The resolution would confirm congressional support for the U.S. mission in Libya.

But Paul told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Obama is already in violation of the law.

“The War Powers Act says there's only three reasons a president can go to war: Declaration of war by Congress, authorization or force by Congress or imminent danger,” Paul said.

“He should have come to Congress, spoken to a joint session of Congress and said, I need the power to go to war, this is why, and explain to the people.”

Paul also said he was upset that Obama had time to get permission from the United Nations and the Arab League, but not Congress.

“Well, boy, if that's what we're living under, we really are completely ignoring our own Constitution. We never wanted one person, one person, the president, to be able to decide to take us to war. We always wanted the debate between a president and a Congress, so we didn't go to war willy-nilly, or we didn't go to war without careful consideration,” Paul said.

–CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.


Filed under: Libya • Rand Paul • Senate • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. aardman

    If he's really against senate inaction, then he should always vote for cloture so that bills can be passed and laws enacted. But it's his party who is continually blocking efforts to get legislation to a vote so he has NO RIGHT to complain that the senate is not getting much done.

    May 21, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    It has always been a do nothing body, except for the last Senate. I am not sure how you got elected. If you want to work...what are you waiting for, co-sponsor a bill.

    May 21, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Bob

    I guess daddy didn't tell him how Congress works before he got there. Another great statesman from KY

    May 21, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. ray in florida

    Perhaps he should put in a request to his minority leader to stop blocking legislation.

    May 21, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Laurent

    No, there should be no debate on Libya, Ron Paul. Continue bombing.

    May 21, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Jack

    We'd be better off getting rid of everyone in the house and senate except Rand and Ron Paul and let those two make the decisions based on the wishes of the American people. Truly the only two honest people in Congress that haven't been bought and sold.

    May 21, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. JonDie

    "The Senate’s inaction sometimes makes him want to return his paycheck."

    Yeah right. What a clown!

    May 21, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Sooooo – one of the republicans finally figured it out. Filibusters cut off debates and put an end to votes. What the HELL did he expect?

    May 21, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Steven Colo

    Gee, maybe you should have researched the fact that that's how the Senate works before you took the job.

    May 21, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. OneMoreTime

    The only response I have for this trouble maker, and all of his TeaBag partners, as well as the entire Republican
    Party, is stop the "slamming", the "bashing" the lies, the hypocrisy, the hateful rhetoric and start EARNING your
    pay check. No President has used the War Powers act since the day it was enacted, John McCain thinks
    it is unconstitutional and all you idiots are doing is spending your time looking for ways to bring down
    President Obama. Well, you are bringing down America too with your egotistical attitudes and your total lack
    of common sense. You don't sound smart, look smart, act smart, you are jealous, greedy, selfish little
    people who have nothing to contribute to the debate of how to solve America's problems. I am sick of your
    petty little games, and you "do nothing" because you don't have a tiddley wink's idea of what to do. I would,
    however, rather you did nothing, if it would be anything like the ravaging of America the House is doing. You,
    and every other member of the Party of No should return their checks, there are plenty of people out there
    that could use the money.

    May 21, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. DOCinPA

    As much as this twit twists my gut, I, in essence, agree with him.

    May 21, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Roscoe

    Maybe there is a little good in the Aqua Budda. But, I doubt he can make much impact.

    May 21, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Blogson

    Cheers for Ron Paul. The Constitution should be amended to eliminate the Senate, which is a dinosaur relic left from the days when members were elected by the state governments and represented the states as political entities and not the state's public and were not elected by popular vote. The Senate also has more than its share of hypocrites – Harry Reid (surrender regarding the so-called "PATRIOT" Act) and Dianne Feinstein, whose duplicity is legendary are among those who are obvious.

    May 21, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Tom

    Paul is full of crap. He wants zero government and that means a world controlled by large unaccountable non-government organizations – let's call them corporations – the constitution would be followed only if convenient to their power and profit.

    May 21, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. bill

    Ok where was he when president bush invaded Iraq.

    May 21, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Andy

    Mr Rand Paul, lives were at stake with Libya. Where were you when Bush decided to hit Iraq?? The man just killed Osama, in a heck of a raid. I think he knows what he is doing.

    May 21, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. Kenny

    Rnd ran for the Senate and now he is dissatisfied with the way the Senate works. He has two choices. He can change the way the Senate works, NOT LIKELY, or he can give back what he feels in unearned pay and go home.

    May 21, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. johnRJ08

    Dr. Paul, you are one of the reasons that the Senate does nothing. You are part of group of legislators who hold every bill hostage to your dangerous ideology. You eschew common sense with your votes and resort to simplicity dogma to justify your stand on every issue. You help create an atmosphere in the Senate where compromise seems all but impossible. So, if you think the Senate gets nothing done, I suggest you resign your seat and let somebody have it who isn't just there to dismantle the federal government.

    May 21, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. John

    Better yet, try returning to Kentucky. Not only would you lower your frustration level, but you'd do the same for many of us.

    May 21, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Ron

    Of course Rand is upset. First the republicans chastised Obama for doing nothing, and now they're chastising him for doing something. That's the story with the republicans today, you cannot do anything to please them. If Rand is upset with the lack of action in the Senate, he should tell the other republicans to quit using filibusters to hold up legislation and appointments. But I guess that's different, huh? Just good old democracy working when the republicans do it.

    May 21, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Liz the First

    This is what happens with a deadlocked divided government. Democrats can't get anything good done and all they can hope to accomplish is to minimize the damage repugs want to do. why anyone thinks divided government is a good thing is beyond me, unless they just don't want a functioning government.

    May 21, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Ain't life strange?

    I'm sorry... when did we declare war?? This, coming from a member of the party of war mongers. Anything to try to make this sitting president look irresposible. No one has declared war... there is no Presidential violation. Dumb ass...

    May 21, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. Mike

    Here is an idea. Sen Rand Paul can return his paycheck, give up his health goverage, deny all claims to his pension and then resign,quit, leave, disappear, anything in that area would be a vast improvement.

    May 21, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Rand Paul used racism in his homestate of Kentucky denouncing the Civil Rights Act, so now he's concerned about the War Powers Act as if he's some kind of activist scholar. Rand Paul needs to know the paycheck he's receiving comes from all Americans and he knows he doesn't deserve it and that's the only reason why it should be returned.

    May 21, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. D WAVE

    I agree with you Sen. Paul( 'do nothing Senate') you need to give your pay cheque to the Big Oil companies because you're not doing nothing for the people.

    Republicans,in the Senate, should be ashamed of your vote to protect Big Oil's tax breaks at the expense of American tax payers.
    I'm appalled you and your Republican colleagues,put Big Oil before the American people and helped defeat a bill that would have ended tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.

    May 21, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
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