Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., refused Sunday to call for a "clean" continuing resolution to reopen the federal government. On “Meet the Press,” NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie opened the interview asking Paul if he was willing to urge House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to place a budget resolution without conditions up for a vote on the floor, where it probably would pass with Democratic votes.
“We’ve been putting clean CRs, or continuing resolutions all week," Paul replied. "We’ve been trying to fund government. We’ve been trying to reopen government, and at every point [Majority Leader] Harry Reid said no, he doesn’t want to reopen government.”
Guthrie questioned whether these were “clean” continuing resolutions with “no strings attached.”
“We’ve been trying to fund different parts of the government all week,” Paul said.
Guthrie pointed out that that was a piecemeal approach as opposed to passing one budget appropriation bill.
“You pass a small appropriation bill, so you can look at them individually. It’s actually a much better way to run government,“ Paul said. “If you did things appropriately and you passed appropriations bills one at a time, no one would be able to shut down the government ever. So if Harry Reid had done his job, we wouldn’t be in this position at all.”
Guthrie noted that Paul was one of the early voices expressing concern about letting a government shutdown occur, but she questioned whether House Republicans made the shutdown inevitable by making defunding the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a precondition.
“The House Republicans said they would fund all of government, and they did. They funded all of government short of one program,” Paul said.
Guthrie noted that House Republicans have voted to defund Obamacare more than 40 times, which the Senate has always rejected.
“They knew what the result will be. They live in the real world too. They knew this action would lead to shutdown and it did,” said Guthrie.
Paul said it was President Barack Obama who was refusing to negotiate.
“That’s [Obama] unwilling to negotiate, that’s him being unwilling to compromise,” Paul said.
“But why is it even a matter of negotiation when it’s passed both houses of Congress?" Guthrie replied. It’s been signed by the president. It’s been challenged in the Supreme Court. It’s been upheld by the Supreme Court. It was a central issue in the 2012 election campaign and the president won re-election. Why is that a legitimate point of negotiation now?”
“Because it’s Congress’ job to oversee spending," Paul said. "The power of the purse resides with Congress, and they fund programs every year. So it’s not their obligation once something is law to never change it.”
Watch the exchange between Guthrie and Paul in the video above from “Meet the Press.”