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

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses 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 BoehnerPrinciples to unify America Feehery: A possible House Speaker conundrum for Democrats Obama on bipartisanship: 'There is a way to reach out and not be a sap' MORE (R-Ohio) urging leadership to remove funding for the Affordable Care Act in its next continuing resolution, while Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (R-Utah) has spearheaded a similar push in the Senate.



But some GOP leaders — including House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district MORE (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight 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 BurrNorth Carolina — still purple but up for grabs North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid Lara Trump mulling 2022 Senate run in North Carolina: report 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."