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

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Defense: Trump budget gets thumbs down from hawks | UK raises threat level after Manchester attack | Paul to force vote on 0B Saudi arms deal Paul plans to force vote on 0B Saudi defense deal Sheriff Clarke denies plagiarism report, calls reporter a 'sleaze bag' 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 BoehnerLobbying World Jordan won't run for Oversight gavel Oklahoma rep. launches long-shot bid for Oversight chair MORE (R-Ohio) urging leadership to remove funding for the Affordable Care Act in its next continuing resolution, while Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeOvernight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens Overnight Healthcare: Divisions emerge in Senate over preexisting conditions The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Utah) has spearheaded a similar push in the Senate.



But some GOP leaders — including House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorTrump nominates two new DOD officials Brat: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'significant' changes Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule MORE (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRepublicans give Trump's budget the cold shoulder Senate GOP focused on killing Medicaid expansion Hearing highlights GOP divide over border tax MORE (R-Ky.) — have warned that Republicans won't be able to stop implementation of the law through the budgetary process. Sen. Richard BurrRichard BurrFive takeaways from a busy day of Russia hearings Rubio: 'All options should be on table' if Flynn refuses new subpoenas Senate Intel panel issues subpoenas to Flynn businesses 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."