Sen. Paul filibusters defense bill

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is holding up a vote on the Defense Authorization Act until he gets a vote on his amendment affirming the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution and the indefinite detention of Americans.

Paul is seeking an agreement in principle to get a vote on his amendment when the Senate takes up the defense authorization bill that funds and sets the agenda for the U.S. military.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had said at the beginning of the week that he wished to move onto consideration of the Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254, before leaving for Thanksgiving break Thursday night.

“[Republicans] say they want to move to the defense authorization bill, so I said yesterday, fine, let’s move to it,” Reid said on the floor Thursday. “But my friends can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.

“[Democrats are] not the cause for why the defense authorization bill is not being brought to the floor.”

Reid agreed to allow an open amendment process on the defense bill because he said Senate Armed Service Committee leaders, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), agreed to wade through and table all the non-germane amendments offered.

Paul’s amendment would give American citizens being held by the military rights to a fair trial with a jury of peers and the right to confront the witnesses against him or her.

“A citizen of the United States who is captured or arrested in the United States and detained by the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense,” the amendment states.

Reid said he hoped Republicans resolve the issue so the Senate can proceed to the Defense Authorization Act when it resumes work on Monday, Nov. 26.