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. Lawrence in PHX

    Welcome to the US Senate, freshman. That group of lawmakers is notoriously slow and much more methodical and conservative than the comparatively raucous House. Perhaps he should have done his research before he ran for politics.

    May 21, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. Greg

    Obama was proud of his career of a minor house member and that other big time job. What was it? Working registering African American's to vote for him as a community organizer.

    May 21, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. Sam

    What a hypocrite. His whole platform is based on dismantling government – unless, it's to appease his Christian base of course.

    May 21, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. HIH

    Amen...it is pathetic that this body can do so little of what they were sent there to do.

    May 21, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  5. Not fooled

    What is Rand Paul talking about --Senate Resolution 85 was signed on March 1, 2011 --unanimously--Therefore he voted for it. UN also signed a Resolution on 3- 18- 2011 for a No Fly Zone. The mission or police action started on March 19, 2011. Google it.

    May 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. xor

    I would have to agree with Paul. I don't agree with his politics but the Senate needs to vote, rather than filibuster and require 60 vote majorities to consider a bill. Have some conviction and vote on matters.

    May 21, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  7. John

    His Party is blocking everything. What is he expecting?

    May 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. Brian

    The War Powers act says they have to resolve action within 60 days or they have 30 days to end the use of force. So basically they have 90 days to stop using force.

    May 21, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. CBR

    Senator Paul is upset because his motion was tabled. He does not seem to be upset that the do nothing congress has done little to help their constituents. He is a member of the Republican Party and he should be pushing for both parties to sit together and produce legislation. How long do we have to wait?

    May 21, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. sue

    Paul should look in the mirror and see he also is one of the Senators that vote to filibuster all debates as all the GOP senators do. Just look at his voting record .And yes he need not to take the check

    May 21, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  11. AndreLinoge

    This poor schmo is just like his father. They're extreme to the point of absurdity and perpetually perplexed about why they're not taken seriously.

    May 21, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  12. Chuk

    Rand Paul is an idiot. Where was he when Bush started an illegal war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives? I hope he gets frustrated enough and quits. And, oh, return your paycheck on your way out. Adios.

    May 21, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. John Regan

    This is the same Senator Rand Paul who supported the filibuster of Goodwin Liu's appointment, a prime example of the Senate taking a lot of time to "do nothing." What. A. Hypocrite.

    May 21, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  14. John

    Right on Paul! This issue isn't a Dem or Rep thing either. Obama probably could care less if Congress didn't even exist!

    May 21, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  15. Jan Blechschmidt

    Another problem we need to address is term limits. Why should these windbags actually do anything when inaction keeps them employed in the status quo. If we continue to elect these clowns just because they have seniority, it's no better than tenure in education.

    May 21, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. LegendRx

    Go sit in the corner and watch grown folk take care of business. They will call you when they need coffee of something!

    May 21, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Eric

    That is because they are one party two names. Looking to see how much money they can make for themselves and their lobbyist instead of trying to do better things for the people who voted to put them in place.

    May 21, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. TM

    Senator it is YOUR party that wants to do nothing. It is YOUR party that has well earned the label "The Party of NO". Don't expect any sympathy from those of us who have spent the last two years suffering while YOU and YOUR party have DONE NOTHING. The rule has not changed. You can Lead, follow or GET OUT OF THE WAY. Since your party has proven itself thoroughly incapable of the first it is time to chose one of the other two.

    May 21, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. ngc1300

    As much as I dislike Rand Paul and the rest of the Tea Party, I can't argue with him about this. The War Powers Act has always been a thorn in the side of our democracy.

    May 21, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. steph in TX

    Please do return your paycheck and just go away!

    May 21, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. annieL

    I thought participating in a UN military action was legally different from US waging unilateral war. Is it not? Also, is tracking down an enemy from one country at which we are at war by consent of Congress into another country which we are not at war with constituional. Thinking of bin Laden in Pakistan. THese are certainly important constitutional questions to be asked. Nevertheless, the actions themselves are worthwhile and justifiable.

    May 21, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  22. Sebastian Kent

    At least you have a job. Where are the JOBS you Republicans promised? Every job in the pipeline is due to the President. He's working, you're not.

    We'll take that $3,300 per week back from you Mr. Paul.

    May 21, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  23. Doncapo

    I wonder why the Senate doesn't want to vote on this.

    May 21, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  24. paul

    He's right. If the Senators don't do their job then why pay them their salary, expenses, and also cut off lobby money and favors. This government is becoming a joke and we will become the laughing stock of the world if we don't shape up.

    May 21, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  25. K3Citizen

    Why did people elect this idiot? Isn't Paul a republican? I'm afraid Paul will turn our country into a bunch of talkers and no leaders by examples. Get rid of this guy before he kills our country.

    May 21, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
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