Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Wednesday that he would prefer that the federal government not shut down in the next round of budget negotiations. However, he noted that he signed a letter saying he would vote against a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government if it includes funding for Obamacare.
Paul acknowledged there was a “good chance” he would vote against the continuing resolution if it did not put the government on a path toward balancing the budget.
“I’m not in favor of shutting down the government, either,” Paul told reporters before speaking at the Louisville Forum Luncheon. He was asked to address the concerns of Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who believe Obamacare would still be funded even if the government were to shut down, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
On Obamacare, Paul said he would prefer to “defund the whole thing” and would fight for that, but also acknowledged Republicans do not control all of the branches of government.
“I am in favor of using our leverage to try to make it less bad,” Paul said. “I also know that we don’t control all of the government, so we fight for what we can get, and we should fight to try and make the legislation less bad.”
He did note that he believed all of Obamacare should be delayed instead of parts of it–like the employer mandate that was delayed for a year.
“Why don’t we delay the whole thing if we are having misgivings about it?” Paul explained.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Paul have led efforts to try to ultimately defund Obamacare. The continuing resolution passed to fund the government expires on September 30, and Congress will likely have less than 10 legislative days to hammer out a deal when they come back from the August recess.
Those like Cruz, who are pushing to defund Obamacare, have suggested the House pass a bill to fund the government except for Obamacare. Cruz has suggested conservatives try to “win the argument” with the American people by convincing them that President Barack Obama would rather shut down the federal government than provide them the same Obamacare exemptions and delays he provided to big businesses and special interests.