Rand Paul Invites All Senators to Coffee in Search of 'Middle Ground'
October 3, 2013 - 6:27 AM
(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Rand Paul is inviting his Senate colleagues to coffee on the Capitol steps at 11 o'clock Thursday morning to "talk about what is the final position that both sides would accept" to break the funding stalemate that has shut down the government.
"My understanding is, the American people are frustrated with both parties not talking," Paul told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday. "They recognize we don't agree on everything. And they do want us to find a middle ground."
Paul said there are "rumblings" that such a middle ground can be found -- "but it would involve negotiating. The problem I see right now is the other side keeps saying they will not negotiate. Well, how do you find compromise if you're not going to negotiate?"
Paul noted that currently, the two sides are far apart: "We started out with us (GOP) wanting no Obamacare and them (Democrats) wanting 100 percent of Obamacare. I think, really, there's going to be somewhere in the middle that we could find, that fixes some of the worst parts of Obamacare. And I really think all it takes is a little bit of discussion."
Asked what that middle ground might be, Paul said, "We've already hit one of them."
"We talked about a one-year delay (of Obamacare) to sort out some of the differences. The Democrats didn't accept that. We also talked about a delay just of the individual mandate. They didn't accept that, either. I think there's also discussion of whether or not getting rid of the medical devices tax -- you know, 80 senators, including about 20 Democrat senators, voted -- maybe 30 Democrat senators voted to repeal the medical devices tax. I think that would go a long way towards getting rid of a tax we think will really hurt jobs and will really be onerous on innovation in medical technology."
Paul noted that the government shutdown wouldn't have happened at all "if Harry Reid had been passing appropriation bills. If he have passed all of his appropriation bills this year, you couldn't shut down anything. So people complain about, Oh, these terrible people shut down government. Well, if Harry Reid had done his job and passed the appropriation bills, there would be no spending to shut down or to hold hostage."
Asked about the looming battle over the debt limit, Paul said the real fight should involve the government's reckless spending: "But to put this in perspective, this isn't just about paying interest. It isn't just about slowing down a small portion of the government which is closed down now. It's about a government that spends a trillion dollars every year that we have to borrow. It's about a $17 trillion debt. It's about fiscal responsibility.
"So this is not a small matter. This has been accumulating for some time. Some of us think that the very financial structure and stability of the country depends on doing something about this debt. So we don't do this lightly just because it's for, you know, partisan reasons. I do this because I'm truly worried about the fiscal stability of our country."
As for Thursday morning's gathering, Paul said, "I'm still hoping that it becomes a bipartisan coffee. We have invited every Democrat and every Republican. And really, it doesn't have to be any high-powered thing. It's sort of chatting, having some coffee and saying, What would it take for you to reopen government? We want to, but what would it take? What is -- what is something we could negotiate?"