Paul blocks Senate from speeding up NSA vote
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (R-Ky.) blocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday from moving up a procedural vote on the USA Freedom Act.

McConnell tried to move up the House-backed bill from a Tuesday vote to Monday evening. Because the Republican leader was trying to circumvent Senate rules, he needed consent from every senator.


But, Paul, who is running for president, objected, saying that he "would be happy" to allow the vote sooner, but only if he gets votes on his amendments.

"I would be happy to agree to dispensing with the time and having a vote at the soonest possibility if we were allowed to accommodate amendments for those of us who object to the bill," he told McConnell on the Senate floor. "But at this point I object."

The two Kentucky Republicans have been in a battle of wills over expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. McConnell originally wanted to get an extension of the legislation as is, but was repeatedly blocked.

Paul opposes both a clean extension and the USA Freedom Act. He doubled down Sunday night on his pledge to use procedural tactics to drag out consideration of the reform bill.

But he also declined to criticize McConnell's handeling of the NSA fight when speaking with reporters, and the two were seen laughing together on the Senate floor shortly before Paul's objection on Monday.

McConnell, who dropped his opposition to the USA Freedom Act on Sunday, helping it get the 60 votes needed to move ahead, tried to pressure his colleagues into allowing for an earlier vote.

"It's time to get the job done," he said. "Everyone has had ample opportunity to say their piece at this point. Now is the time for action."

Because of Paul's objection, the Senate will take a procedural vote on the USA Freedom Act at 11 a.m. Tuesday. They're also expected to vote on a handful of amendments from McConnell.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Trump withdraws Ratcliffe as Intelligence pick MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, rejected the notion that he and McConnell haven't tried to work with Paul on amendments.

"There's been every attempt to try to accommodate amendments," he said.  "We're going to do everything we can to wrap this up by 3 tomorrow."

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (D-Fla.) also criticized Republicans on Monday, suggesting they didn't have a plan to make sure they could pass legislation on the Patriot Act provisions before they expired at midnight Sunday.

"This senator is saying we should have gone through the laborious procedures," he said. "Not assuming that we were going to have the votes last night, not assuming they was going to be comity and unanimous consent."