Sen. Paul rails against 'do-nothing' Senate
May 21st, 2011
05:10 PM ET
7 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. debra

    This president is the scariest president we have ever had. Either he's someone's puppet or he is has decided he doesn't have to answer to anyone. I can't wait till he's out of office.... the sooner the better.

    May 22, 2011 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  2. TD

    That is the whole point,their not supposed to do anything until instructed by their masters of Globalism. My guess is his check must have been delayed, nothing like a little PR to get things moving.

    May 22, 2011 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  3. FM

    Voting on Libya is not as important as creating jobs. Your fellow Senators and congress people campaigned on this and were sent there Nov. 2010 to do such that. Where are the JOBS ??? Ask them also the same question: What do go in their mind when the pull in their paychecks without doing anything?????

    May 22, 2011 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  4. jesse

    While I do agee that he is right on technicality alone. He is however being an idiot. Gidafi has been useing terrorist forces like mercinaries for years. See the flight bombing that he took credit for. While I'm sure we ticked him off by getting involved in the first place, I'm positive that he will be murderus since we killed parts of his family. These are actions that needed to be taken however. Yes, it does suck. The thing is though, he's been trying to effectively hold his country and the populace hostage the whole time and embezzle the funds.

    May 22, 2011 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  5. criticalthinker

    If Rand Paul wants the Senate to vote on something, why doesn't he suggest they start with of Obama's judicial nominations that the Republicans are holding up?

    May 22, 2011 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  6. Dennis

    Senator Paul ought to brush up on his Constitutional separation of powers. That little part about the president being commander in chief makes the War Powers Act unconstitutional, as every president since Nixon has recognized.

    May 22, 2011 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  7. R

    How quickly a republican can forget the crazy lies and stunts they pulled to get us into a war in Iraq with absolutely no justification. It's so sad to see a bunch of racist liars given a podium and support by a huge group of racist fools.

    May 22, 2011 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  8. bill stapp

    Sooner or later, the elected leaders are going to have to return to the Constitution ... and obey the laws that they pass themselves.

    If they do not, it will begin the erosion of the authorities and the rule of law from which there will be no return. If our elected leaders clearly do not obey the law, and do not explain why... then the people will feel empowered to do the same.

    May 22, 2011 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  9. Terry

    Welcome to Washington Mr. Paul. Walk next door and check on the "Do Nothing House of Representatives". History Lesson 101: The Founders never intended that elected office become a career. Once elected, every member of the House and Senate (including you Mr. Paul) falls into the "pit of control" created by lobbyists and PACS. You can pound your desk, wave your arms, and cry to the press, but we do not see you giving back the money that is flowing into your campaign coffer every day. Washington in broken and you all need to do what the Founders intended, "Go Home and run the business you had before you arrived in Washington". If you want my support, call for a New Continental Congress, shut down the current money pit called the US Government, and create Term Limits. Then I will take you serious; not before you admit that you are now part of the problem.

    May 22, 2011 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  10. chex & balanced

    While he railed ....who done the job he was hired to do??

    May 22, 2011 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  11. chex & balanced

    push one agenda ... forget 10 others??
    Is this any way to run a circus??

    May 22, 2011 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  12. Von Bismark

    Senate Paul,man up and declare your candidacy and free yourself from the slavery of your own imagination. Remember President is a constitutional law scholar and your a medic by profession.

    May 22, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  13. 4merRepubCT

    Apparently, the freshman Senator has a lot to learn about the process of governance. Paul is like any student whose head is filled with theory, but is now learning that practical application doesn't bear any resemblance to his classroom exercises.

    May 22, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  14. max

    I don't see this guy helping much, just making things worse.

    May 22, 2011 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  15. chuckwagon

    I agree, all Senators and Congressman should return their paycheck. In addition, all should receive same health coverage they vote on for the rest of us.

    May 22, 2011 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  16. Mike S

    Welcome to American politics, rookie.

    May 22, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  17. Marie MD

    You almost made sense until your racism and tea bagging ways showed . . . . . . "Well, boy,". Are you sending a jab to the President, was that a Freudian slip or are you really that backwards still???
    If this is the way you feel then, yes, give back you money and go back to the 60s!!!
    You and your father can cry on each other's shoulders.. Pathetic!!

    May 22, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  18. Tony in Maine

    What he really means is, "The Senate is not doing what the great I Am says it MUST do."

    Amazing how libertarians become authoritarians once they are elected.

    May 22, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  19. John N Florida

    Senator Paul wants to return to a Constitution that never was. Prior to the Income Tax and big paychecks, Congress was only in session twice a year and those session lasted weeks, not months. Congressmen stayed in hotels, not purchased houses.
    His WPA has only existed since 1973.
    There are many examples in the 20th century where a President sent US Troops to war and Congress wasn't consulted. The 'Banana Wars' of the 20s and 30s is just one.
    I have no doubt Mr. Paul is a fine Dentist. Maybe he should 'drill down' in to our History before shooting his mouth off.

    May 22, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  20. rickinmo

    Obviously 90% of the Senate doesn't agree with Rand Paul. He talks tough but doesn't understand politics, the law or the Senate. He campaigned as a Tea Bagger and as a doctor is looking out for his own self interest. I work with a lot of doctors and the level of greed always amazes me. Just watch him; he won't do anything that will lower payments to physicians. He'll cut benefits for seniors but not reimbursement for doctors. He'll cut social security because he has a big fat 401K and doesn't need it. He'll cut education; his kids can go to private schools. You get the picture. Those who are fortunate enough to have all the benefits of a good life don't care that someone making 30K per year can't put 50K per year into a 401K and send their kids to private schools. They also don't seem to understand that having a superior education system is crucial to our success as a country and to our national defense. He doesn't want to raise taxes even though it's impossible to cut enough out of the budget to get a balanced budget without generating more revenue. Tea Baggers and conservatives need to wake up, stop pandering to the radical right and do what's best for the country.

    May 22, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  21. Will 18E

    But we are not at war with Libya. We are supporting NATO and the U.N. under treaty obligations.

    May 22, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  22. Shane Botwin

    The more he rants and raves, the more likely he is to get a paid gig on Fox News.

    May 22, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  23. Charlie

    Gee, Imagine that. Obama breaking the law. Perhaps if he had studied law he would know what to do.

    May 22, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  24. The Greedy Old Pigs are whiners with no desire to help average Americans

    Waa Waa Waa! When Paul and his cult cronies in the GOBP want to get serious about jobs and raising revenue by ending tax cuts for Big Energy and the filthy rich, then maybe he'll have a point. Otherwise, I'm quite happy with a quiet Senate.

    May 22, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  25. clarke

    Well he sounds like a spoiled little person who can't get his way. If he feels this way he should leave the Senate.

    May 22, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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