Rand Paul: Democrats' Stubbornness Keeping Government Closed
Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:59 PM
By: Sandy Fitzgerald
Republicans put out clean spending measures all last week in an attempt to reopen the government, but Democrats are blocking every move, Sen. Rand Paul insisted Sunday.
"We have been trying to fund the government," the Kentucky senator said NBC's "Meet the Press." "We've been trying to reopen the government, and at every point, [Senate Majority] Leader Harry Reid says no, he doesn't want to open the government."
And while Democrats have complained that the Republicans' attempts are just piecemeal approaches that will not fund the entire government, Paul said that the "bill after bill after bill" that have been passed are "clean CRs, meaning there's no strings attached."
Further, Paul said that the attempts to pass bills funding veterans' and other federal programs are the way lawmakers have always passed funding measures, and that approach is "historically the way it's always been."
"You pass small appropriation bills so you can look at them individually," said Paul. "It's actually a much better way to run government, because right now you're sticking everything into one bill, and that's why the leverage of shutting the government down occurs. But if you did things appropriately and you passed appropriation bills one at a time, no one would be able to shut down government ever."
Further, Paul denied that House Republicans led to the shutdown by refusing to fund the government.
"The House Republicans said they would fund all of government, and they did," Paul said. "They funded all of government short of one program. So they really were never wanting to shut down government over this, they were wanting to fund government, and then have a debate."
He further blamed Obama for his refusal to negotiate for the shutdown.
"When you say the president wants 100 percent of Obamacare or he will shut down the government, that's exactly what happened," said Paul. "If he [Obama] doesn't get 100 percent of his way – his way or the highway – then they won't do any spending bills that don't include everything that he wants. That's him unwilling to negotiate, that's him being unwilling to compromise."
Paul disagreed with Democrats' claims that Obamacare shouldn't be rejected or defunded because it's already been passed and upheld by the Supreme Court.
"It's Congress' job to oversee spending," said Paul. It's not their obligation once something is law to never change it. For example, in 1983, we changed Social Security. It had been around 50 years and the age of eligibility was 65. We changed it to 67 because Social Security was going bankrupt. It isn't that it's set in stone that we'll never revisit Medicare or Social Security or Obamacare, for that matter. So I think it's a silly argument."
Paul said Republicans will maintain the position that "we think Obamacare is a bad idea and it will hurt the people it's intended to help."
Further, the GOP has been offering "compromise after compromise," but the Obama administration won't negotiate, and that lead to the government shutdown.
Paul said that he doesn't like any of Obamacare, but he realizes he won't get his way.
"We do control a third of the government, and people did elect us to fight," said Paul. "It's precisely what Congress is supposed to be doing. This is Congress' job."
But for compromise, "the other side" has to negotiate, said Paul. "We've been willing to compromise and negotiate."
Further, Paul said he disagrees that the standoff is going to hurt Republicans.
"I think it's extremely bad for the president shutting down the government, and he's the one shutting it down because frankly, he's unwilling to compromise," said Paul. "We've sent over six bills this week to reopen government, and Reid dismisses them out of hand. So we're the ones trying to open government and the Democrats say keep it closed because they like it being closed."