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. T G

    Well, "BOY", if that's what we're living under..... Plain to see that he's part of the Tea Bagger movement since they all address the President as "boy." Welcome to the present Republican Party.

    May 21, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. Darknight787

    We're not at war, dummy. Our intervention in Libya is being done through NATO partners, and has yet to include any ground troops and likely never will. Your efforts to discredit an action simlarly taken by other (republican) presidents is laughable. Shut up and govern and stop trying to unseat a president who actally is making difference in the world.

    May 21, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. John

    So give It back, Because that all Republican do Is say No. They have for almost for three years now. Me myself I think you all are over pay.You don't do nothing for the AMERICAN PEOPLE, all you do Is see how much you can hurt the American people. Any body with any brain at all know the Budget cuts only will not do any good. You are going to have to rise TAXES TOO. Everybody In America know this but you Republican. It because you want to protect your Rich and Big Business Friends. So yes I don't think you Republican deserve your pay check at all and i think You all are over pay both Republican and Democrats , And you should have to pay some of your health care just like the rest of American people do. I wish I got Pay 174,000 a year just to say NO.

    May 21, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. ambrose Smith

    Paul is just grandstanding. Get off your high horse!

    May 21, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. justathought

    Wah, wah, wah...go back to Kentucky you loser.

    May 21, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Uncle Eccoli

    These New Republicans worship the Constitution like a deity. I bet Rand Paul's got US Constitution bed sheets, lol.

    Is Sen. Paul accusing Obama & co. of violating the War Powers Act or the Constitution?

    This all seems a little passive aggressive to me. I mean, why not introduce a resolution expressing the Senate's displeasure with the Administration's actions regarding Libya? Oh, because the rest of the Senate won't listen to you? Congratulations, now are you not only ineffectual, you're also a whiny tattletale. Isn't there someone who rounds up the freshmen and teaches them about the decorum of the US Senate?

    By the way, I actually agree with Sen. Paul on this, but it seems he's got some to learn yet about being a US senator.

    May 21, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Chris

    Well the reason why the Senate does nothing is because Republicans love fillibustering and gridlock. Its all about making the Democrats fail so the Republicans can look good and get back into power – with absolutely no regard that this kind of hyper-partisanship and blind obstructionism is harming the country.

    May 21, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. Mike In MO

    I'm guessing he wasn't all worked up in a lather when Bush went ahead with his "Look, Daddy, I can go to war too!"

    May 21, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  9. Nothing new here

    For once, I agree with Rand Paul.
    All these worthless politicians need a serious paycut, or better yet, ship them back to where they came from.
    These politicians do not care about the taxpaying middle-class. They only pander to the ultra-rich and certain special-interest groups.

    May 21, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Peter Q Wole

    I actually agree with Paul on this one for once! I don't kno why we are in Lyba of all places cause there is no emenent danger to the U.S in any fasion by the lybian government. It reminds me of another Vietnam or Iraq if you ask me cause each one says "War" when they mean military power struggle acts like the Korean War was a fake wwar. Also, he money being spent could be spent in U.S domestic things in the future like infrastructure that we need to stay competative in the 21st century. Also, we don't inport any petroleum from Lybia so no threat there as well. Only France and Italy to my knowledge inport it, so I think the europeans convinced the U.S President to support this behind closed doors.

    May 21, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. Jordan N.

    Feel free to return that paycheck then, senator. You are, after all, in favor of smaller government, particularly with his desire to expand a do-nothing senate into a do-nothing government.

    May 21, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. CTYank

    Poor baby! They're not following his vision.

    Maybe that's a message in itself, if he can understand that. Or he can find some windmills to aim his lance at.

    In Rand's libertarian universe, can't the Pres. initiate military activity as he sees fit?

    May 21, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. Puddin

    what a surprise that Obama the criminal thug would run roughshod over the Constitution on going to war. He's violated in multiple ways. He is an utter disgrace as President.

    May 21, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. fayse

    Rand Paul is a wacko Tea Party figure and his father is equally wacko with unrealistic ideas.

    May 21, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. trex

    The paul twins, nothing but hot air and nothing done in their name. a pair of ZEROs

    May 21, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  16. Smarter than that

    This sounds more like whining from Paul about our actions in Libya than about any other issue. If it was simply about the Senate's inaction he can talk to his filibustering GOP colleagues about that. We would have had solutions to at least some of our problems in place right now if it were not for all the GOP's filibusters and obstructionism. It is the strategy of HIS party, so Paul should talk to them.

    May 21, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. Gremar

    A breath of fresh air and honesty. This man has integrity. He'll make plenty of enemies along the road but he is spot on.

    May 21, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Larry L

    I rarely agree with this right-wing elitist but the Senate is totally broken – thanks to the Republican Party's efforts to block any debate. The filibusters used by the GOP included actions to block initiatives they crafted themselves. Republicans have worked to discredit President Obama regardless of the damage to our country. They have been political terrorists. Ryan Paul's proposals are ridiculous efforts to strengthen the wealthiest class, but they are at least a starting point for compromise. We need to flush the senatorial toilet and get some people in this powerful office who can work for Americans – not just the rich.

    May 21, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. darrell

    yeah, why not return your socialist insurance while you're at it.

    May 21, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. scott

    sen paul like gov palenty needs to put the big boy pants and understand when sr senators from either party want his opinion they will give it to him. did u honestly think u were coming to dc to set the country on fire? u have to pay your dues like everybody else.

    May 21, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. Brian

    Why am I not surprised that Rand Paul can't comprehend the very laws he is complaining about. Or maybe simple math eludes him Or perhaps he is too outraged at being made a slave that he doesn't take the time to understand.

    May 21, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. marty

    Where in the world has Rand Paul been for the last ten years? Perhaps he reads the same printed materials that Sarah Palin does regarding government activities.

    May 21, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. James

    I was under the impression that the congress and senate should be focused on jobs, jobs and more jobs. I don't want to hear junior senators complain about President Obama. Focus on jobs or you will not get another term.

    May 21, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. guest

    I have to say, it was the leadership of Vietnam that caused this change and now here we are with someone just ignoring a constitutional law and then telling us to wait and see what happens. We can no longer state we are a nation of law. What an example of audacity. I feel so taken in by someone I hoped was honest when I cast my vote. So much for that.

    May 21, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  25. jazz92

    Poor Paul he can not get his voice heard in Senate. But it seems like what his is gripping about the President has actually done. He has informed the Congress by two letters what his plans are with Libya. So now Paul can go back home and rest his mouth.

    May 21, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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