Paul also floated the idea of prosecuting the national intelligence director for perjury.
Sens. Menendez, Kirk, McCain and Schumer are working on the bill.
The 71-29 vote sets the stage for a final vote late Thursday.
It's the first clear indication the alliance is willing to move ahead with the zero option.
The budget deal poised to pass this week won’t fix the defense industry’s sequestration woes if it isn’t followed by a larger agreement to reverse the rest of the sequester cuts, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) CEO Marion Blakey said Wednesday.
“This technical error can, will and should be addressed," the senator said.
The State Department said citizens departed on three flights amid an outbreak of violence.
The group, also known as "Signers in Blood," led the assault on the BP oil field in western Algeria, holding several U.S. citizens along with 40 foreign nationals hostage during the standoff.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for waiting to take up the Defense authorization bill until the end of the year.
The National Defense Authorization Act was passed out of committee back in June. The Senate is expected to pass the last-minute bipartisan deal Thursday.
“Under the Democrat Majority, this bill has basically languished since the summer — 6 months have elapsed since the Armed Services Committee first reported the NDAA out for floor action,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Now, with just days to go before Christmas ... the majority wants to rush this crucial legislation through without the debate it deserves.”
An NCIS agent made first guilty plea Tuesday in a Navy bribery case involving a Malaysian contractor that has threatened to ensnare high-ranking Navy officials.