Looking to spare vulnerable Democrats from an awkward vote on the controversial issue of extra-judicial military detention, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), with the assent of his Republican counterpart John McCain (R-Ariz.), attempted to swiftly pass the amendment by unanimous consent.
“I think that this can be accepted on voice vote,” Levin said, when Sessions finished presenting the amendment. “I have great problems with it, but I think there is probably a majority here that will favor it.”
But from across the chamber, Paul demanded a recorded vote on the amendment, which resulted in a resounding 41-59 defeat.
“I am going to ask for the yays and nays,” Paul said, surprising leaders.
Both McCain and Levin, who indicated moments before that they would agree to passage of the measure by unanimous consent, voted against it in that roll-call vote.
A Republican aid close to the process told The Hill on Friday that Democratic leaders including Levin had agreed to allow passage of the amendment, which they opposed, to dodge the roll-call vote, and that they had been assured by at least one high-powered Republican in the Senate Armed Services Committee that in the end it would be stripped from the final conference report.