Paul blocks McConnell from setting up defense bill vote

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump informally offered Cohn CIA job before changing his mind: report Congress moving to end US involvement in Yemen Congress races to finish .2 trillion funding bill MORE (R-Ky.) blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate tees up Yemen vote for Tuesday Senate confirms Trump's border chief House leaves out ObamaCare fix from must-pass funding bill 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.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerConscience protections for health-care providers should be standard Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise Dem super PAC launches ad defending Donnelly on taxes MORE (D-N.Y.), who rejected Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump informally offered Cohn CIA job before changing his mind: report Schiff: I thought more Republicans would speak out against Trump Trump presses GOP to change Senate rules 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.