Reid says Paul fighting to protect terrorists

Paul swiftly responded to Reid’s remarks and seemed stunned at the majority leader's accusation.

“I rise to respond to a scurrilous accusation,” Paul said. “I have been accused of wanting terrorists to have weapons to attack America.”

“That is offensive,” Paul said. “I find it personally insulting and I think it demeans the body. It demeans the Senate body and the American people.”

Reid also vowed to override the freshman’s objections and pass the Patriot Act extension no matter what.

"No matter how long it takes to get there we are going to have this vote and the vote will win," snapped Reid.

“If he thinks it’s going to be a badge of courage on his side to have held this up for a few hours he has made a mistake. It will set this program back significantly and that’s too bad. The clock is ticking. The ball is in his court," Reid said.

In a separate speech less than an hour before Reid came to the floor, Paul indicated he would force the Senate to use as much time as possible to draw out the process.

If senators are forced to come down to the floor at 1 a.m. Thursday morning to vote, they might start to consider why there had been no debate on the Patriot Act and why they had allowed leadership to block amendments, Paul said.

Furthermore Paul said that if leadership would just allow him a vote on three of his amendments he would allow the Patriot Act to be renewed before it expires. 

If Paul continues to delay the agenda by objecting to any unanimous consent deal that would abbreviate the 30 hours allotted to legislation for debate under the rules of the Senate, final passage of the bill would have to wait until Friday and Patriot Act powers would lapse for at least a day.

Paul attempted to bring his amendments to the floor before his exchange with Reid concluded Wednesday afternoon, but Reid objected.

The Patriot Act renewal legislation would extend the ability of U.S. intelligence authorities to conduct roving wiretaps, gain access to business records and survey "lone-wolf" operators, non-U.S citizens believed to be acting alone to commit terrorist acts.