CNN anchor Erin Burnett invited Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on her program Wednesday to discuss the state of “negotiations” between Democrats, including the White House, and Republicans in Congress. Burnett argued that Obamacare has become a GOP “obsession” and asked the senator why the Democrats’ offer of a $988 billion spending cap wasn’t “enough” to end the partial government shutdown.
Paul said Republicans are doing their best to compromise with Democrats, but the Senate has rejected every single proposal from the U.S. House.
“We started out with a position that we don’t want any Obamacare,” he said. “The president wants all of it, 100 percent. I would think a compromise would be both sides come off of their positions some.”
Referencing the Democrat proposal to implement a $988 billion spending cap in order to reach a long-term budget agreement, Burnett asked why it wasn’t “enough.”
“[Harry Reid] is saying, ‘look I thought you cared about long-term fiscal responsibility.’ I mean he had a point there,” she said, adding that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also said they were agreeing to it even though they didn’t want to.
“They are giving you that. Why isn’t that enough? It does seem like Obamacare is a bit of an obsession,” Burnett added. She would also later ask, “Why put your entire heart, soul, reputation and next seat in office on Obamacare?”
Paul, calling out the CNN host in a very respectful way, responded by explaining why government is “so messed up.” He also reminded her that Congress controls the “power of the purse.”
He said government shut down because “we aren’t doing appropriations bills.” If Sen. Reid had “done his job,” he would have brought a number of appropriations bills to the floor and passed them to fund more of the government during the partial shutdown.
“Their intransigence really is keeping the government shut down,” Paul said.
Later in the segment, Burnett played a clip of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) attacking Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for sparking the government shutdown, at least according to him.
“What do you say to that? There are a lot of Republicans who say that what this core group, a minority group, in your party is doing, is destroying your party,” she said. “Peter King is one of them, but he is certainly not alone.”
Paul said it was “unfair” because the Republicans are “united” on Obamacare and feel “it’s bad for America.”
Burnett also cited a CNN poll that shows 60 percent of people want to avoid a government shutdown than delay or block Obamacare, 34 percent.
“I’m not so sure it’s as clear-cut as you make it out to be,” Paul said. “I think people, particularly the people who elected me, wanted me to stand up and fight Obamacare. They think it’s bad. They think it’s going to reduce their choices.”