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

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial 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 Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE (R-Ohio) urging leadership to remove funding for the Affordable Care Act in its next continuing resolution, while Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe self-fulfilling Iran prophecy No patriotic poll bump for Trump, but Soleimani strike may still help him politically Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (R-Utah) has spearheaded a similar push in the Senate.



But some GOP leaders — including House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorThe Democrats' strategy conundrum: a 'movement' or a coalition? The biggest political upsets of the decade Bottom Line MORE (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE (R-Ky.) — have warned that Republicans won't be able to stop implementation of the law through the budgetary process. Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrMarsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial GOP senator provides fidget spinners to Senate colleagues at lunch Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump 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."