Sen. Paul rails against 'do-nothing' Senate
May 21st, 2011
05:10 PM ET
12 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

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Filed under: Libya • Rand Paul • Senate • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. 40acres

    Really? He has a problem with a "do nothing" senate.

    May 22, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  2. CAW in MD

    I'm sure that Obama can hang this on the war on terror, just like his predecessor did for going into Iraq. Kinda sucks when your own party's logic works against you, doesn't it Senator Paul?

    May 22, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  3. RepublicansFallingApart

    I've got news, Rand. You and about a third of your colleages ARE going to be giving your paychecks back, in a way, really soon. They won't be getting paychecks. I don't think any of you up for re-election can Jerrymander enough in your state voting districts to keep your seats in Nov 2012 because there just aren't enough wealthy or corporate voters to ensure a win. Everyone else depends on social security, medicare, women's health programs, retirements from public jobs they held for decades, union jobs, worker's comp benefits, universal health care, new jobs that weren't created. YOU LIE!

    May 22, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It's funny these fanatical republicans never want to discuss their president involving us in a phony war, not paying for it and bullying everything through congress when they had the majority in both houses. But they want to complain about something as petty as timelines when congress is dragging it's feet because the republicans won't agree to anything.

    May 22, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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