Paul blocks McConnell from setting up defense bill vote

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE's (R-Ky.) request early Friday morning for the chamber to advance the annual defense funding bill.

McConnell made the request in the immediate aftermath of the Senate's shocking rejection of a scaled-back bill to repeal parts of ObamaCare, asking for unanimous consent to proceed to the defense legislation.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.), who rejected Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE's (R-Ariz.) request on Thursday to pause the healthcare debate and move on to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), said after the healthcare vote that he would let the bill move forward.

But Paul, who has been among the Senate's most vocal ObamaCare critics, voiced an objection to McConnell's request without explaining why, stalling proceedings on the NDAA, which is typically one of the least controversial spending bills.

Instead, the Senate will take up judicial nominations when lawmakers meet on Monday.

"Senator Rand Paul requested two bipartisan amendments, one on ending indefinite detention and one on AUMFs," said Paul communications director Sergio Gor, referring to authorizations for the use of military force.

"He looks forward to working with leadership and the committee to get this done soon."

— This story was updated at 11:01 a.m.