Paul skips GOP conference meeting
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch Overnight Defense: Iran seizes British tanker in latest escalation | US, UK to discuss situation | Trump says 'no doubt' US downed Iranian drone after Tehran's denials | Pentagon's No. 2 policy official to leave | Lawmakers worry about Defense vacancies MORE (R-Ky.) skipped a Senate Republican meeting late Sunday afternoon during the fight over extending the Patriot Act.

Senate Republicans huddled in the Capitol for more than an hour discussing how to resolve the spying fight ahead of a midnight deadline, when the provisions will expire. 

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After emerging from the meeting, a number of Republicans switched their votes and moved to end debate on legislation reforming the controversial National Security Agency programs authorized by the Patriot Act.
Asked why he didn't attend the caucus meeting, he said that, after tension on the Senate floor earlier Sunday, "I didn't think it was going to be that collegial." 
 
Before the caucus meeting, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tried to block Paul from speaking on the Senate floor about the Patriot Act provisions. 

Paul is opposed to both a clean extension of the Patriot Act and the USA Freedom Act.

He had tried to reach a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would allow the Senate to speed up votes in exchange for Paul receiving votes on two amendments with a simple majority threshold.