Paul back at work in Congress to debate defense authorization

Paul’s presidential campaign says the Texas Republican will keep fighting for delegates in states that already held primaries, but he’s conceded that Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee and has said he won’t campaign in states with upcoming primaries.

Now the Texas Republican is settling back in to his job in Congress for his final year before retirement. Paul, who has missed 79 percent of roll-call votes this year, returned to the Capitol last week for a hearing on the Federal Reserve and is getting involved in the defense authorization bill this week.

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On Thursday morning, Paul joined a group of a dozen anti-war lawmakers, led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who were pushing amendments to the Defense authorization bill and a letter to President Obama that called for an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“It’s rather ironic we call it the National Defense Authorization Act,” Paul said. “In my point of view it has very little to do with defense. It has to do with military occupation of foreign countries that we have no right to be in.”

Two hours later, Paul was back at the podium with House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and two other lawmakers to talk about indefinite detention.

Smith has an amendment with Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.) that would undo provisions in last year’s defense authorization bill and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that allow terror suspects captured on U.S. soil to be detained indefinitely.

“I do not believe a republic can exist if you permit the military to arrest American citizens and put them in secret prisons and be denied trial,” Paul said of supporting the amendment.

Paul was not included on either of the advisories ahead of Thursday’s press conferences, though his stands on both issues are nothing new.

Paul won over a loyal following with his steadfast support for reducing the deficit the Federal Reserve, as well as for shrinking U.S. presence abroad.

It's Paul’s foreign-policy positions, however, that often repel some Republicans, as his stances on national security frequently drew fire in the GOP primaries.

Asked how it was back in the Capitol on Thursday, Paul said: “About the same as when I left.”