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. 4sanity

    Poor Randy, your quite right. You should return your paycheck. You're ineffectual, impudent, ignorant and have the emotional stability of a 4 year old (just a tad better than crybaby Rep Boehner). No one listens to you because of your kooky fantasy philosophies. And BTW the President is not engaged in an illegal war. We are not at war with Libya – we're just as President Reagan liked to call it – involved in aggressive diplomacy. And there's nothing stopping the Congress and Senate from debating or voting on a "war powers" authorization – except 90 other Senators who have said "It's not necessary." That's pretty strong bipartisan support given the current Washington obstructionist Republican policies.

    May 22, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  2. GBrown

    Perhaps we should remember that those "founding fathers" that the conservatives love to preach about so much designed a government that would be very, very slow with making decisions. . .

    May 22, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  3. sparky

    "saying the Senate’s inaction sometimes makes him want to return his paycheck."
    and yet he doesn't... hypocrite!!!

    May 22, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. max

    go ahead, return it ... we could use the money ... IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAYU, STAND FOR SOMETHING AND RETURN THE CHECK !!! .... Just like we all thought ... another rethuglican ... all bark ... no spine

    May 22, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. hwy911

    There goes Rand Paul, getting all apoplectic again, not understanding the difference between being at war and assisting in a NATO police action. Poor Paul; you have to pity him. He can't help it if he's not very smart.

    May 22, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  6. Marla

    I'm no scholar on this, but..
    As far as I know, WE are not at war in Libya. We are supporting a NATO action, which was initiated by the UN.
    As a member nation of the UN, I think that we should provide some support, along with the other member nations.
    I'm certainly glad that our military didn't go in unilaterally, as Bush did in Iraq. I'm also glad that our president didn't sit on his hands and refuse to take part in the NATO action, as so many of these people seemed to have wanted.
    I may be wrong, but as a US citizen, this is how I see it.

    May 22, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  7. Glenn from Cary

    In Senate years, Rand Paul is still a little boy. If he doesn't want to grow up to be a real Senator and play all the crazy real-senate games, he should go back to Kentucky and bilk the government for bogus medical charges like the rest of his family. Surely he has no objection to the fact that Senate politics are insane – he is as crazy as a loon. It's no accident that the Senate seat he won was previously held by Jim Bunning. Look up Bunning's record and comments. The junior Senate seat for Kentucky is traditionaly held by the craziest M-F in the whole bunch.

    May 22, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. hwy911

    First Paul complains that he can't get Congress to take action – he wants to return his paycheck (who's stopping you, pal?) Then he complains that Obama didn't get permission from that same Congress to participate in a NATO action, which he calls a war... He just explained his own complaint – maybe Obama didn't ask for Congressional approval because.... they are a "do nothing" Congress, who would have dragged their feet all the way to next year on this.

    May 22, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. Marla

    And Rand Paul? He reminds me of a petulant little kid who did not get his way on the playground.

    May 22, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  10. spence

    The man has got a point

    May 22, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  11. Jefferson

    Thank you Rand Paul! This never ending state of war will lead to WW III if we don't stop them now.

    May 22, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. Pips

    We aren't "at war", we're supporting NATO, which we are obligated to do. DERP

    May 22, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  13. John J. Puccio

    Any time a petulant senator doesn't get his way with a bad idea, he cries foul and resorts to name-calling his fellow senators as though its their fault his idea was bad. Thanks, Paul, for wasting more of the senate's time.

    May 22, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  14. Rush Limbaugh's Favorite Donkey P0rn Film

    I find it refreshing that a politician admits he's useless.

    May 22, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. David K.

    Well done, Senator. The Obama-philes will rail against you because you dared say he has made a mistake. Yes, we know Bush was worse, blah blah blah. The time has come to demand real leadership. Just better than Bush is not good enough for America.

    May 22, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  16. Andacar

    Whatever else you can say about Rand Paul, at least he isn't stupid or ignorant. Contrast what he says and does with the article about Sarah Palin having the fire in her belly, you betcha. I say this while being completely opposed to Mr. Paul's ruthless “let them spend cake” libertarian views, mind you.

    May 22, 2011 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  17. GOP has a tea problem, not a party?

    Rand Paul is a nut case. KY you should be ashame!

    May 22, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  18. FRANK FROM LAS VEGAS

    Does Paul understand that's it's his party, the GOP that blocks everything that could help our country and all of our citizens? No, he's only upset when it's his bill that doesn't go anywhere. The GOP in intent on blocking every bill that could help our country just because because it might make the President look good. They don't care about the American people, just politics. Hopefully the American people see this and in 2012 we'll have 10 less GOP roadblocks.

    May 22, 2011 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  19. Matt

    Shorter Paul: "WAAAAAAH! Daddy, make the Senate do WHAT I WANT or my fee-fees will be hurt again!"

    May 22, 2011 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  20. BC

    Let the whining begin! Someone needs to tell freshman Sen. Paul, that he heeds to talk to the big boys and girls before trying to create an image of leadership; which he certainly does not have.

    May 22, 2011 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  21. musician

    Where was he during the Bush years? Two wars on borrowed money with no oversight or declaration, and an awful lot of lies. They are both still going almost 10 years later. Unbelievable.

    May 22, 2011 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  22. Marry

    Sen. Rand Paul is just talking nonsense again to play to the Tea-Party. Disgusting those Hypocrites!

    May 22, 2011 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  23. JFK

    What an embarassment to the Senate. Obviously America doesnt want your extreme agenda Mr Paul. Government is about compromise and it seems extremists on the Right dont understand this concept. The House has embarassed itself this year already with attacking womens rights and wasting our tax dollars. Its time for Congress to address jobs and more important issues. Mr Paul needs to get on board or plan on leaving in the next election cycle!

    May 22, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  24. Rob

    love this guy. like father like son.

    May 22, 2011 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  25. RudyG

    Mr. Paul, I feel your pain. As a Republican, I don't know which way to turn. Between Palin's mental hemorrhages, Gingrich's brutal ineptness, and the do-nothing Congress, I feel like my party is run by the The Three Stooges!!

    May 22, 2011 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
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