Rand Paul: Obama to Blame for Government Shutdown

Sunday, 29 Sep 2013 12:34 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday the best chance to avoid a government shutdown was for the president to step back and let the House and Senate appoint a conference committee to hash out their differences.

"We should continue to have this debate, but it’s the president who is refusing to come to the negotiating table," the Kentucky Republican told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I've said all along it's not a good idea to shut down the government, but I also think it's not a good idea to give the president 100 percent of what he wants on Obamacare without compromise," Paul said.

President Barack Obama has already amended his signature healthcare law more than a dozen times, and granted numerous exceptions allowing some special interests and Congress to opt out of the program, Paul said.

"Many on his side say there is a problem, the Teamsters say there are problems, Warren Buffet says there are problems, even former President Bill Clinton says there are problems with Obamacare," Paul said.

"Why won't the president negotiate and come to a compromise on trying to make Obamacare less bad?" Paul asked.

"The Democrats are saying they are willing to shut down government," Paul said.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois also appeared on the program and was asked by host Bob Schieffer if Democrats would agree to a conference committee to avoid a shutdown.

Durbin punted the question and instead complained that Republicans had refused to appoint a conference committee on a separate issue earlier this spring.

Durbin said that he was willing to discuss the future of healthcare at a later date, including the Republicans insistence that taxes on medical devices including wheelchairs be repealed, "but not with a gun pointed to my head."

Durbin argued that if Republicans insist on delaying the implementation of Obamacare for one year, then 800,000 government employees would be victimized by the shutdown.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, agreed with Paul and told Schieffer that Obama is "driving the shutdown."

"He wants control of the checkbook," Blackburn said.

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