Senator Rand Paul made headlines last week when the Associated Press quoted him saying Obamacare probably couldn’t be defeated. He later clarified his remarks and reiterated that he would vote against a resolution funding the President’s healthcare legislation. Last night, Sen. Paul brought a good dose of experience to the Senate floor when he took part in fellow Sen. Ted Cruz’s marathon anti-Obamacare speech. This morning, Sen. Paul joined Glenn to talk about what the next steps are for the Republican Party.
Glenn, who introduced Sen. Paul as “the guy who began to give me some hope that there was a way out,” asked him to elaborate on what this moment means for the future of Obamacare and, more generally, the future of the Republican Party.
“No. I mean, whether we win or lose on this, and I don’t think we have the votes ultimately to win on this, but whether we win or lose on this, we will continue to stand on principle against ObamaCare,” Sen. Paul said. “Many state legislatures are going to have the same fight. The same fervor and the same excitement we’ve had in Washington this week will be in state capitals when they get the bill for the expansion of Medicaid. And all the states that are expanding Medicaid are going to have to either raise taxes or go further in debt, and this is going to be a problem. But it comes about over the next year or two.”
“The other thing that’s going to happen is people who had good insurance, this could be wealthy executives or it could be union workers who had good insurance, are going to be paying taxes on it,” he continued. “People are going to find out that their prices for their insurance is higher, part‑time workers are going to lose hours, and full‑time workers may well lose their job. There’s going to be a lot of bad things that come out of this. And so I think the fight goes on. But this is a milestone in that fight.”
There has a good deal of highly publicized in fighting within the Republican Party. But Sen. Paul explained that while Republicans in Washington might not agree on how to defeat Obamacare, they are united against the legislation.
“I think the caucus is unified against ObamaCare. I mean, I truly do. I think there are some differences on how we best should do it, and I think they are honest differences, to tell you the truth,” he explained. “I think it is a little bit unfair on some of the criticism. For example, you know, Senator Barrasso, the M.D., has fought ObamaCare like nobody else, puts out information every week on it, has always voted to defund it. It’s a little unfair really to say that if he’s unwilling to filibuster a bill that he actually agrees with that he’s opposed to ObamaCare. And so I think that really some of the tactics aren’t necessarily fair, and I think that our caucus is unified, our caucus is not unified on exactly how to do it.”
Read a full transcript of the interview below:
GLENN: Let’s go to Senator Rand Paul, a guy who I will never forget as the guy who began to give me some hope that there was a way out. When he stood and he filibustered, must have been six months ago now, and now we’re seeing Ted Cruz and the rest of the good guys come up and stand. Not technically the same kind of filibuster as Rand did, and I don’t know how this is going to play with the American people, but I hope well.
Rand Paul is joining us from Washington, D.C. Senator, how are you, sir?
RAND PAUL: Very good, Glenn. Thanks for having me.
GLENN: So is ‑‑ what do you think is coming out of this? What do you think’s going to happen here
RAND PAUL: Everywhere I go people want us to stand on principle, they want us to oppose ObamaCare because they think it’s a disaster for the country. You know, I think it’s going to help precisely the people that it was intended to help, I think it’s going to actually hurt those people. And, you know, I’ve been saying if it’s such a great thing, why didn’t President Obama take it? If it’s such a great thing, why didn’t justice Roberts get it? You know, so I have one amendment, if they let us vote on amendments that will say all federal workers get it. If we’ve got to be stuck with this darn thing, they should all get it too.
GLENN: Is there any way to get that in afterwards? I mean, that has to be done.
RAND PAUL: In all likelihood there will be no amendments ‑‑ well, there will be one amendment. This is the way it works up here: It’s Harry Reid’s way or the highway. It’s President Obama’s way or the highway. They get 100% of ObamaCare or they are either going to shut down the government or ‑‑ they are not going to allow amendments. There’s going to be one amendment and that’s going to strip the language that defunds ObamaCare. So it is really, it’s funny and it amazes me that some of the mainstream media say, “Oh, Republicans are just being obstructionist trying to get their way.” Republicans are trying to get ‑‑ to be even part of the process is what we’re trying to do. Democrats are getting 100% of what they want, a bill written by them with no votes by Republicans.
GLENN: Is this the last ‑‑ is this the last stop?
RAND PAUL: No. I mean, whether we win or lose on this, and I don’t think we have the votes ultimately to win on this, but whether we win or lose on this, we will continue to stand on principle against ObamaCare. Many state legislatures are going to have the same fight. The same fervor and the same excitement we’ve had in Washington this week will be in state capitals when they get the bill for the expansion of Medicaid. And all the states that are expanding Medicaid are going to have to either raise taxes or go further in debt, and this is going to be a problem. But it comes about over the next year or two.
The other thing that’s going to happen is people who had good insurance, this could be wealthy executives or it could be union workers who had good insurance are going to be paying taxes on it. People are going to find out that their prices for their insurance is higher, part‑time workers are going to lose hours, and full‑time workers may well lose their job. There’s going to be a lot of bad things that come out of this and so I think the fight goes on. But this is a milestone in that fight.
GLENN: So there was a tweet yesterday from NBC News, and I want to read it to you and get your comment. NBC News has learned while Senator Rand Paul does not expect to speak publicly about his opposition to Cruz’s tactic, Paul sided with Mitch McConnell.
Is that true?
RAND PAUL: What I’ve said is what I’ll continue to say all along, that I won’t spend a penny on and I won’t vote for a penny for ObamaCare, and I’ll do anything I can to stop it.
I have also said that I don’t want to shut down the government, and I think shutting down the government is just a deadline that if we go through, even though it will be the president’s fault, it will be him wanting everything he wants if it happens, it’s probably not good for our cause overall to go through a shutdown and so I have some mixed feelings as to how this all turns out. I don’t want to fund ObamaCare, but I also think that for us to win and take over the Senate or the White House, it doesn’t ‑‑ it isn’t in our best interest to be perceived or accused of shutting down government.
GLENN: But you’re going to be accused ‑‑ I mean, look what you’re accused of.
RAND PAUL: I’ve been accused of my fair share of things.
GLENN: That’s right. If you’re going to be accused, we can’t live in a world where we’re afraid of what the accusations are going to be because it doesn’t matter. That’s, you know, that’s Mitch McConnell and John McCain kind of thinking that gets ‑‑ John McCain’s worse, but ‑‑
RAND PAUL: I guess my point is that if we’re willing to do it, what we have to do is be willing to go through the deadline. And the only way to leverage or our poker hand holds any value or power is if people will ‑‑ do believe we’ll go through the deadline. With the debt ceiling I’ve always been willing to go through the deadline. I’m willing to go a month, two months, three months, as long as it takes. And I think we could use that leverage to bring the Democrats to the negotiating table. With the actual disruption of spending, there is a way we could have done this but it would have required assistance from leadership and that would have been in January we should have started passing appropriations bill. See, if the defense appropriations bill were passed, we couldn’t have anybody up here saying, “Oh, you’re going to not pay the soldiers.” Right now soldiers wouldn’t get paid.
GLENN: See, this is the problem, Rand, and you know this. I mean, you know, you just know this: The leadership that we have as the GOP with Boehner and McConnell and everybody else, they are way ‑‑ they are a waste of a seat. They are not ‑‑ I don’t understand how they think they’re going to win. The reason why the Republicans have a 34% approval rating is not because of you guys but because America now says ‑‑ 68% of Americans say we’re on the wrong track. And what Mitch McConnell is giving them is the same track, different speed. They don’t want to be on this track anymore.
RAND PAUL: Well, I think the vast majority of people are with us on, you know, defunding ObamaCare, getting rid of stopping ObamaCare, and the fight is worth having. This is the time to have the fight and so I’m going to keep doing what I can to stoke the flame, stoke the fire and to say, you know, this is bad, that coercion is bad, that mandates are bad, that the hundreds of mandates that run throughout ObamaCare are not consistent with our American ideals, not consistent with the American concept of freedom of choice, of volunteerism. And I think we should have that debate and put it in stark terms because the bottom line is there will be one or two choices on these exchanges, and right now you have hundreds of choices. If I want to choose a high deductible plan and a health savings account, I can do it. That will not be offered to me under these exchanges.
GLENN: Anything you’re comfortable about sharing about the whip process going on behind closed doors? Yesterday there was a Breitbart report out that Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn were looking for votes against Cruz? I mean, in effect is the GOP trying to make sure that the funding goes through?
RAND PAUL: No, I think the caucus is unified against ObamaCare. I mean, I truly do. I think there are some differences on how we best should do it, and I think they are honest differences, to tell you the truth. But I think the caucus ‑‑ and while I think it is a little bit unfair on some of the criticism. For example, you know, Senator Barrasso, the MD, has fought ObamaCare like nobody else, puts out information every week on it, has always voted to defund it. It’s a little unfair really to say that if he’s unwilling to filibuster a bill that he actually agrees with that he’s opposed to ObamaCare and so I think that really some of the tactics aren’t necessarily fair, and I think that our caucus is unified, our caucus is not unified on exactly how to do it.
GLENN: Chris Wallace said on Fox News Sunday that the Republicans were taking Cruz out and then they went to Karl Rove, of all people, to explain why. You know, I saw Cruz talk about this, and I thought like a statesman last night, saying, you know, the older guys, they don’t know the young freshmen. They just don’t know, they don’t really care ‑‑ and I’m making it worse than what he did. But they don’t know us and, you know, the freshmen have not turned on each other. It is the older guys turning on the new guys. Who’s turning on ‑‑ what is this? What’s going on? Because Rove said yesterday, “Well, it’s just ‑‑ on Sunday. He said, “Well, that’s just because Cruz didn’t go to the older guys, didn’t go in to the caucus and tell them what he was going to do and so we had to find out on our own.” Is that kind of pettiness true?
RAND PAUL: I would say that there are always growing pains and, you know, we’re in the minority. So we have to figure out how to grow. And in growing pains, there’s always a struggle on the best way forward, the best way to grow the movement. Some of it is standing on principle. It’s standing and not giving up and saying “We are opposed to ObamaCare and we’ll do anything we can to stop it.” But some of it’s also on some things that I think that trying ‑‑ that I’m trying to do which is beyond our party base. ObamaCare unites our party base but doesn’t make our party necessarily bigger.
I’m also talking about some liberty issues, some issues of fairness and justice within criminal justice system, within, you know, how we approach our foreign policy that I think will broaden our base and get us to a bigger party. So I think it’s a combination of all those things.
But there’s always going to be internal disagreement on the tactics of exactly how you do it. But other than that, I would say that really there’s more unity than disunity in the sense of what our position is on ObamaCare. And it’s probably unfair really to characterize anybody in our caucus as not being absolutely 100% committed to defunding ObamaCare.
GLENN: The story out today about John Kerry signing the ‑‑ he says he’s going to sign the UN arms treaty that’s being negotiated now. Fox is telling us nothing to worry about. I couldn’t disagree with that more strongly.
RAND PAUL: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of signing a UN treaty that gives up on the Second Amendment or allows them to infringe on the Second Amendment. There should be no international treaties that ever infringe on our constitutional rights or our sovereignty.
GLENN: But they are saying that this one is just going to be for international, it won’t infringe on that at all.
RAND PAUL: Yeah, that’s ‑‑ you know, they can talk a good line and say it’s not going to do this, it’s not going to do that. I can tell you that that’s one of these other things that we will stand on principle and I will be right there at the forefront saying I will get 34 senators, and I can stop that because Senate treaties take 67 votes. So 34 votes to defeat them. So far we’ve defeated every one of these treaties that have come forward from the United Nations because Americans don’t want us to give up our sovereignty to an international body full of two‑bit tin‑horn dictators who often, and for the most part, hate America.
GLENN: How could we possibly sign a UN arms treaty that stops people from giving arms to the, you know, to the bad guys when the president has to waive himself our own laws to stop us from giving weapons to Al‑Qaeda?
RAND PAUL: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting that, yeah, we’re going to sign a treaty banning weapons transfers while exempting ourselves to send weapons to Syrian Islamic radical elements that may well hate America as much as they hate Assad.
GLENN: I don’t know if you saw the picture we released yesterday on TheBlaze, but in a USA Aid tent or U.S. Aid tent, we have a known Al‑Qaeda terrorist standing next to a guy with a rocket launcher, in our tent in Syria.
RAND PAUL: The only thing that could be better is if you had an American senator over there having their picture taken with them. Yeah.
RAND PAUL: You know, the thing is this is the ridiculous nature of people saying, “Oh, we’re giving the weapons only to the vetted moderate resistance.” It’s like, if you don’t speak Arabic, you can’t even pretend to think you’re even talking to the moderate vetted rebels. But the thing is even if you do speak Arabic, how are you going to know who’s lying to you and who’s not lying to ya? They’re all going to have made‑up names. Do you think they’re carrying around, you know, a birth certificate that you can prove who they are?
GLENN: I’ve got news for ya: I don’t even know who the good guys are in the United States of America and they speak English. I mean, I don’t even know ‑‑ I don’t know if you saw the school board meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, where the dad was escorted out for standing up and asking a question, and he was charged with second degree assault on a police officer. It’s all on tape. There was no assault. The officer was completely in the wrong. They charged him. They decided to drop the charges. Even though they say that they were totally justified but it wouldn’t help justice if they pressed it.
RAND PAUL: You know what, Glenn? You know what this reminds me of? When I was detained by the TSA, they put out a report saying I was resisting arrest or whatever. So then somebody must have been my friend at the airport and they put out the surveillance footage of me when I was in the detention cubicle. I’m sitting there for, like, hours on end just kind of bored to death looking at my phone. I never had words with anybody. But they put out a press release saying that I was irate and that I was yelling and screaming. I never did any of that. I sat quietly and bored to death on my phone trying to tell people I was in captivity. But I wasn’t talking to anybody. So, you know, it ‑‑
But with regard to, you know, the Islamic rebels, we really have to say to ourselves, are we not completely insane to be giving surface‑to‑air missiles to guys who are using machetes to cut people’s heads off?
GLENN: Yeah, we are completely insane unfortunately. Thank you so much, Senator. I appreciate it, and thanks for your tough stand and keep standing, and we wish you all the best of luck today. The vote coming today? Do you know?
RAND PAUL: Yes. Well, there will be at least one vote today around noon, but it probably is going to be the motion to proceed. Then there may be another filibuster. This may be the beginning. There may be another 30 hours. I don’t know if anybody’s got the same stamina as Ted Cruz. So we’ll see if anybody else can stand for 30 hours. But we’ve got another 30 hours after this maybe.
GLENN: You’ve got time to get a nap in.
RAND PAUL: That’s right. I’ve got ‑‑ my voice is already a little raspy and I wasn’t up all night.
GLENN: Thanks so much, Senator. I appreciate it.
RAND PAUL: Thanks, Glenn.