Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump's CIA chief clears Senate Overnight Defense: Trump nominates Air Force secretary | Senate clears CIA director | Details on first drone strike under Trump Dems blast Trump plans for deep spending cuts MORE (R-Ky.) blocked the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee from continuing a mark-up hearing on Wednesday in a sharp floor exchange with the committee’s chairman, Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (D-Iowa).
Paul insisted on enforcement of a rule that limits hearings from going beyond two hours' time while the Senate is in session. He demanded at least one hearing and longer deliberation on a long-anticipated 868-page education reform bill expected to soon pass out of the committee.
Harkin and Sen. Al FrankenAl FrankenDeVos doesn’t know the ABCs of public education Franken emerges as liberal force in hearings Trump nominees dodge 'climate denier' charge MORE (D-Minn.) blasted Paul after his objection, suggesting he has not worked well with the committee’s leadership and that his junior status means he missed important hearings held last year, before he was a member of the upper chamber.
“I am sorry the senator wasn’t here last year but the Senate is a continuing body,” said Harkin. “[T]he senator from Kentucky had every opportunity to let us know what we wanted in that bill but I never saw him, I never heard from him.”
Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetOvernight Finance: Scoop – Trump team eyes dramatic spending cuts | Treasury pick survives stormy hearing Mnuchin: Debt limit increase important, unclear on 'clean' hike Live coverage: Senators grill Trump's Treasury pick MORE (D-Colo.), who is also a member of the committee, “beg[ged]” Paul to stand down and let the mark-up process on the bill continue, arguing that if the committee’s work had to be limited to two hours per day it would take more than two months to complete the legislation.