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. GL

    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.”

    It has been like that for over 20 years. Did this clown thank he was going to change things?

    May 21, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. 21k

    most kids who graduate high school have an inkling that the us congress is not a place of dynamic action. mr paul appears to not have been well prepared by his home-schooling education.

    May 21, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Pat in IL

    I agree that it's a "do nothing congress", but it's interesting that he didn't fuss about this before, and now he's wasting his time with a ridiculous resolution instead of trying to make cngress do their job. There is more to governing than putting one's energies into nothing but Obama bashing.

    May 21, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What has Rand Paul done lately, other than being on vacation when President Obama killed OBL.

    May 21, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. GL

    Do this fool what some cheech with his whine?

    May 21, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. Randy Buist

    Learn history. Learn policy. Learn that your perspective isn't the only 'right' perspective Mr. Paul. When it comes to politics, you're an idiot who happens to have supporters.

    May 21, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. juliei4

    Stop whining! Just because your bill was tabled by a 90 – 10 majority you don't get to whine. Obviously neither party was interested in your bill.

    May 21, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Freedom

    Thank you, Senator Paul. Do not worry, the Democrats will be out of office in 2012 and then our country can get back on the right road!

    May 21, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. CaliforniaBC

    Paul needs to read the Constitution. He should have done that BEFORE even running for Senate. Can we say, "Unqualified". I'm getting kind of tired of these Articles of Confederation-ists calling themselves Consitutional-ists.

    May 21, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    Sen Paul you have it all wrong..the Senate DOES do something, you dang Republicans filibuster everything you know you can't pass and that keeps you all from having to govern. Try working together for a cahnge and see how that works out.

    May 21, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Don

    Rand Paul s a freshman senator from a fairly small state and is despised by most of his colleagues. Gee, I bet he is having a hard time running things his own way.

    May 21, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. peace

    paul stfu you are the party of hell no.

    May 21, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Dean

    Senator Paul,,,,,shhh when they do do something it costs us money and jobs.

    May 21, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. BostonianTheWoodlandsTX

    Huntsman,Paul,Gingrich.

    These guys see the writing on the wall. They know the President has a very good chance at winning re-election.

    This just proves these guys will say ANYTHING to stay in office or get elected.

    I hope most Americans can see this. Huntsman included. Especially Huntsman.

    May 21, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    As I understand the Libya situation, The President is "in violation of the War powers act," NOT because of anything he has done, but because Congress has not passed a resolution in support.

    Sounds like CONGRESS is in violation. I mean, its not like they can claim they didn't know about it and its not like they shouldn't know that time is running out, its THEIR JOB TO KNOW.

    POLITICS ("Right" wing politics).

    May 21, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Jim

    As soon as the Republican Congress gets off of their duffs then the Senate will have some work to do.

    May 21, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. tewrobert

    Thats it.........He makes his own rules as he goes.
    Who ever is really running America put obongo in power because he would do things they figured NO one else would...We are pigs that are trapped ,,,,,,,,and we will stay trapped and they will take everything away from us.......
    The good news is all the ones who voted obongo in are going to have to endure what the working man and woman endures,,,,,,,,,I debt out of this world..........Less freedom..More imigrants ( illegals ) Future Obongo voters,
    You all made this mess your gonna have to endure with it......same as us........

    May 21, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. Aaron

    He's another one that is so insane and unbendable that he's part of the problem. The day he gives his paycheck back will be the same day that we return the Southwest to Mexico.

    May 21, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Republican filibuster prevents up or down vote on Liu.
    Republican filibuster prevents vote on ending corporate welfare for big oil.
    Republican filibuster...

    May 21, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Jim

    Sen. Paul is right. Where is the congressional authorization for the US use of the military in Libya? more importantly, why is Congress not demanding that Mr. Obama comply with the War Powers act?

    May 21, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. once upon a horse

    seems to me that no one else is complaining about Lybia but Sen Paul...everyone else seems to have forgotten it since it was not really a war as he wants to call it and to date no American lives have been lost. Congress and the US seemed to be focused on other things...I suggest Paul do the same.

    May 21, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Jamey Carothers

    Neither paul nor his father seem to have a clue how to govern. Why doesn't he return his paycheck?

    May 21, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Russ from Md.

    “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.”
    I think this says it all. No president should have the power to do what he has already done. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the attacks against Gadhafi and I support further attacks against a dictator but in this case, WHO's THE DICTATOR?

    May 21, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. conoclast

    Why have debate when your stated stance is No Compromise? You're only reaping what you've sown, Ronnie!

    May 21, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. ben

    Rand Paul is absolutely right- our Congress is dead. The debate has become so polarized, and a large number of topics have been off limits as a result, military spending, agricultural subsidies, and tax cuts for the wealthy especially. Open debate is the only way to address the issues we face right now, but the debate in DC is as closed as it can be.

    May 21, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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