Rand Paul: 'I don't think shutting down the government is a good idea'

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulConquering Trump returns to conservative summit Rand Paul rejects label of 'Trump's most loyal stooge' GOP healthcare plans push health savings account expansion MORE (R-Ky.) said Sunday that Republicans should “stand up and fight” against ObamaCare, but warned that forcing a government shutdown over funding for the law is the wrong strategy.

"I don't think shutting down the government is a good idea, but I do think that we were elected, conservatives were elected, to try to stop this overreach, this government takeover of healthcare," Paul told "Fox News Sunday."

Paul said Republicans should use the desire to avoid a government shutdown to squeeze concessions out of Democrats, predicting that a spending bill that headed to conference committee could see a delay of the individual mandate or opening of the insurance exchanges.

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"People want us to stand up and fight, I'm willing to stand up and fight," Paul said. "We should use the leverage of controlling one-third of the government. We don't control all of the government, but Republicans control the House of Representatives, they should stand up, use that power to at the very least make that law less bad, delay it, do something we can to protect the American public from the law."

Last month, some 60 House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse markup of ObamaCare repeal bill up in the air Conservatives to Congress: Get moving Boehner: ObamaCare repeal and replace 'not going to happen' MORE (R-Ohio) urging leadership to remove funding for the Affordable Care Act in its next continuing resolution, while Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeLessons from the godfather of regulatory budgeting Congress must reform civil asset forfeiture laws A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Utah) has spearheaded a similar push in the Senate.



But some GOP leaders — including House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorGOP shifting on immigration Breitbart’s influence grows inside White House Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote MORE (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP grapples with repeal of popular ObamaCare policy New DNC chairman wastes no time going after Trump Dem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks MORE (R-Ky.) — have warned that Republicans won't be able to stop implementation of the law through the budgetary process. Sen. Richard BurrRichard BurrTop Senate Dem: ‘Grave concerns’ about independence of Russia probe Trump's pick for intel chief to get hearing next week A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-N.C.) told the Associated Press the threatened shutdown was the "dumbest idea" he'd ever heard of.


Paul chastised his Republican colleagues who had flatly rejected the idea, saying it decreased Republicans' leverage in the upcoming negotiations.

"If we announce defeat in advance as some have, then that destroys the effort that we're trying to do," Paul said.

In his weekly address Saturday, President Obama admonished Republicans who have threatened the shutdown, saying "health insurance isn't something to play politics with." 

"A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me," Obama said. "But they’d just be sticking it to you."