Rand Paul: I’m ‘torn’ on shutdown
By: Mackenzie Weinger
September 25, 2013 04:47 PM EDT
Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said although he supports Sen. Ted Cruz and the effort to defund Obamacare, he is “torn” over the possibility of a government shutdown and the likelihood Democrats have the votes to beat the Republicans.
“I’m torn in the sense that I completely support Sen. Cruz and Lee on this, but at the same time I do hear the message of the other side that I don’t want the government to shut down,” the Kentucky Republican told Sean Hannity on his radio show. “And I think it won’t be good for the party if we go through a shutdown — and the Democrats are gleefully rubbing their hands together hoping we go through a shutdown.”
While Paul said everyone in the Republican caucus is in favor of defunding Obamacare, none of the tactics on hand will actually do away with it.
“None of these tactics work to get rid of Obamacare,” he said. “I think we’ve done a superb job of drawing attention to Obamacare and how bad it is, but none of these tactics — we are not going to be able to defeat this with the votes we have. The only way we defeat Obamacare is at the ballot box in 2014.”
Hannity pushed back, telling Paul, “You’re basically saying the Republicans behind closed doors have telegraphed to everybody they are going to cave, they don’t have the stomach to stand toe-to-toe with the Democrats and Obama and stare them in the eye.”
“You’re saying they don’t have the guts to do it,” Hannity said.
Paul replied that “we have to sometimes look for a silver lining.”
“And to me, the silver lining is, I think what Sen. Cruz has done has been masterful,” he said. “He and Mike Lee have united the grassroots against Obamacare and they’ve done a tremendous job. And I support them. I won’t vote for, no matter what happens, I’m not voting to fund a penny of Obamacare.”
But the reality is that “Obamacare is currently the law of the land,” Paul told Hannity.
“The funding for it has to come, but a lot of the funding is built in and part of it,” Paul said. “So really, what we’re opposing, I’m absolutely opposed to funding Obamacare and I will vote not to. I’m just acknowledging where the numbers lay and that the Democrats have the majority in the Senate and they control the White House. And that no matter what tactic is utilized, come Monday, it’s going to be what it’s going to be.”
“And that is in all likelihood, they have the votes to beat us,” he said.
In an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, Paul pushed back against the efforts by some members of his party to characterize Republicans who are against Cruz’s strategy as being pro-Obamacare.
“I think it’s unfair to characterize people in the Republican caucus as for funding Obamacare,” Paul told Neil Cavuto. “That’s not true.”
The tone grew notably lighter when Cavuto asked Paul about his ongoing feud with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, which has been widely reported on by the national media.
“We’re in counseling,” said Paul. “We were looking to have a beer together and that didn’t work. Now he has to come to Kentucky but it may have to be bourbon.”