Sen. Paul rails against 'do-nothing' Senate
May 21st, 2011
05:10 PM ET
3 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 10pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.


Filed under: Libya • Rand Paul • Senate • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Republicans - "The not Intened to be factually accurate Party"

    Yes, return the check. BE A LEADER RAND!

    You talked a lot of "smack" as a Liberterian when you were running. Now show us you don`t like getting paid for doing nothing.

    Oh, and you LAZY Senators get busy and put President Obama`s nominees for the Federal Judiciary to an UP or DOWN vote.

    Stop gumming up the works!

    May 21, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Len Smith

    Return your pay check as you are part of the problem.

    May 21, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. Dean O

    Of course he's right. The senate led by the weakest POL ever – Harry Reid. What a joke he is. They have been on one bill for 3 months. The small buiness bill and nothings happening. They vote on 2 judges a week. Time for Harry to resign. The senate needs a good cleaning. Get the REPs in charge and watch the activity.

    May 21, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. pmk1953

    Why does everybody refer to the House of Representatives as Congress. As if it were the sole part of Congress. Congress is comprised of two parts, the House of Representative and the Senate.

    May 21, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Adam A.

    The Senate is a broken chamber. The filibuster has been abused to the point of making the chamber useless. Tremendous reform is needed to get that back on track... starting with reducing every bill passage to pass with a simple majority vote and not require 60%.

    May 21, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Botwin Shane

    Where was Ron Paul's outrage when Bush Jr. started two wars after presenting phony evidence to congress?

    Ron Paul can only whine and carp to keep his Tea-Birthers happy. He doesn't need to do anything in the senate. His presence is token enough.

    May 21, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Jack H.

    The government routinely ignores the constitution as it chants to the general public that WE must obey the laws.

    If it weren't for the court system and that check / balance function, the Feds would ignore the constitution just as much as military dictators around the world.

    Obama is guilty of violating the three restrictions of the War Powers Act. But don't complain. Just pay your taxes so all those government workers can continue to pretend they are of some value to the rest of us who actually have to work.

    May 21, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. Fed Up

    All the elected officials have a cushy job. No work, no worry, just collecting money and going on vacations. Have a great day all of you "normal people" that have to work for a living. Or not, as the unemployment roles show.

    May 21, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. GOP Hate America

    he got permission from UN and Arab League because they actually vote on stuff and filibuster all day long for everything

    May 21, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Teller

    Feel the pain Rand. We Dems waited for 2 years for the repubs to vote for ANYTHING. And we're still waiting.

    May 21, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. Will

    Rand Paul is such a hypocrite. He states that the Senate does nothing, but what he fails to mention is The FACT that the GOP FILLIBUSTERS EVERTHING, so nothing gets done. He needs the criticize the other GOP members for Fillibustering everything.

    May 21, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. ChristianC

    Someone will surely "counsel" Senator Paul that he doesn't understand how "things" are done in Washington D.C. If the above article is correct, it sounds like "things" are done in a rather pitiful way. I salute Senator Paul for his courage to buck the trend.

    May 21, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. rhumba

    The Senate seems to be accomplishing just as much as the House of Representatives.

    May 21, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. thomas

    Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul needs to learn the ropes before he runs for president !

    May 21, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Sagebrush Shorty

    The entire Congress might as well disband and leave the running of the country to Executive Order, Federal Court decisions and political correctness proponents. The United States Congress and the United Nations are two of the most inept and useless organizations on Earth. Rand Paul is correct in his observations and this is unfortunate.

    May 21, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Hey Rand!! How about that "do nothing" Republican Party!! Bet they REALLY make you mad...they should all give their salaries back too!!

    May 21, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Alverant

    Whats the matter, Paul? Did those earmarks you rallied against then demanded fall through?

    May 21, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Squigman

    Amazing. This newly elected pinhead, has the idea that just because he's a part of a party made up of idiots, racist, biggots, and basic mule headed people, the senate, should roll over and do every bidding he conjures up. Get a life. Hell, get a clue.

    May 21, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. DALE

    It's senetors like Paul that through their political grandstanding are causing the "do nothing" congress.

    May 21, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Henry

    Well, Senator, may I suggest that you do exactly that, return your paycheck and go back where you came from. If there is a body that is supposed to be deliberative and calm things down it is the senate. If you want to make your "tea party" impact then go work in House where you fellow Republicans are driving a social agenda and care nothing about the common man.

    May 21, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. Dirk Wladon

    Why should he care, he didn't serve with his girlie features.

    May 21, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. meyer

    What's stopping this blow hard from returning his paycheck? I'll take it.

    May 21, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. jim

    At least just "sitting idly by" does far less damage than Obama. It's unfortunate when a man with as little common sense as Obama has thinks he knows what's best for an entire nation.

    May 21, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Clwyd

    But Mr. paul, that is what you and the right wing nuts teabuggers have been calling for. Don't say anything, but "NO!" and try to make Obama a one term President by putting the country into your agenda of "Gridlock!" You republicans are all animals!

    May 21, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. Diridi

    Entire congress is lethargic. So gop in trouble.

    May 21, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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