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 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.


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

    I have no problem with him quitting if he doesn't like his job. How hard is it to vote No on anything that isn't what the GOP wants. Also, if a Republican was president right now he wouldn't have brought this up anyway.

    May 21, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "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."

    Really Paul? Really? Maybe your time-wasting proposal was given the interest it really deserved. You're a Republican Tea Party darling. Aren't and your cronies supposed to be creating jobs? Why not get with it?

    May 21, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. armchairpickleback

    Rand and his father Dr. Paul are the only two honest politicians in washington.

    May 21, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. BrianBkyn

    For once I agree with this bizzarro dentist without certification. Why is Obama being so casual about this? Getting permission from the Senate is a slam dunk, so just get it done on time and follow the law. Is that so much to ask for?

    May 21, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Danny Spencer

    That should tell you something there Paully. You aint got what it takes.

    May 21, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. I was fooled by Republican's in 2010 , I will never vote for the lying weasels again !

    Republicans have done enough to set us back ! I don't want their greedy little hands on anything else until we get a chance to correct the mistake we made in 2010 by giving those worthless weasels their jobs back !

    May 21, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. nick p.

    hey Rand, shut up! no one cares about your whinning and saliva filled talk, and for crying out loud, do something about that hair!

    May 21, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. anotherGDlefty

    Good Rand, I'd like my money back.

    Put up or shut up.

    Go ahead and pay me for your healthcare too please.

    May 21, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. Former Republican

    The vote was 90-10. Looks like another idiot named Paul tilting at windmills.

    May 21, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Sandy

    Rand Paul exceeded my expectations by a mile. Great job!

    May 21, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. usualone

    Did he speak up (or his dad) about the Iraq invasion?

    May 21, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  12. Dan

    This guy really REALLY loves to hear himself talk.

    May 21, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. JennyDE

    Welcome to the real world, Senator.

    May 21, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. Ron

    Well, there's one thing I agree with you senator: you should give back your check!! How ironic that you complain about taking money for doing nothing, but keep the money. Go ahead. Send a signal. Give us back OUR money!!

    May 21, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. Dave in Silver Springs

    Golly Mr Paul, welcome to the 60 vote Senate the Republicans created. If you're frustrated imagine how the rest of the country has felt for the last 3 years.

    May 21, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. blake

    I like this guy. Wish the rest of the Senate would get their act together.

    May 21, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. mike l

    We didn't go to war with Libya, or maybe Paul doesn't understand that. Not so smart as he thinks he is. Did Reagan ask for permission to invade Grenada? Were we at war when he dropped a bomb on khaddafy's tent? Were we at war when Clinton threw a few bombs saddam's and al-qaida's way? The answer is no to all. So where was Paul and his daddy when those events occured? I will agree that the Senate does nothing, but that is the fault of both sides, mostly Paul's own gop , who does everything it can to keep votes off the floor.

    May 21, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. aatami

    I dare Sen. Paul to return his paycheck! Put your money where you mouth is you libertarian dimwit.

    May 21, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  19. Jimmy Kelley

    Hes right. War powers act clearly stetes 60 days of war b4 additional approval needed. This is a usurpation by the executive branch that may serve as a precedent for future presidents. I am neither for nor against the libya intervention, I just want to state that the next president may decide to attack and/or invade another country without the peoples approval... On the other hand once a president beats the drums of war 100% of the time congress is behind him (or in the future her) for no other reason then to fail to appear weak... It still does not make it right.

    May 21, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  20. Dal From California

    US is in the support role in the war in Libya. The other two entities are involved in that region and the Arab league is more in tune with the consequences of US invading an Arab nation. This way we are not seen as the direct aggressor to the Arab world.
    May be Senator you should go back to earning your paycheck like before and not sitting twiddling your thumbs and wasting my well earned money.

    May 21, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  21. sick of republican phonies

    So he FEELS like returning his check. Why doesn't he?

    May 21, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. Stop out of control Democrat spending - CUT UP THE CHINA CREDIT CARD, no debt ceiling increase

    Obama and his administration have shown very little interest in following any laws. The list is very long of the laws they have chosen to ignore or not to enforce. What kind of government is this? Seems more like a dictatorship.

    May 21, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  23. ARTRaveler

    Paul, if you don't feel that they are jumping at your every wish, there is an easty resolution. Take a piece of paper and slowly write "I resign".

    May 21, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. Ron

    Read the War Powers Act, before you open your soup cooler, chucklehead! 60 DAYS!!!! That's how long the Pres has before he "has" to go to congress for approval. Ever cross your mind that he was waiting to see if additional time was needed before he requested something he didn't need?? But then again, not like you bums have been doing much of anything other than drawing a paycheck!

    May 21, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  25. Yaya

    I say let him return it. He is just as guilty as the rest of them, coming up with nonsense that will never pass for the sake of political posturing.

    May 21, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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