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Rand Paul blocks Senate resolution backing protection for whistleblowers

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers House sets vote for George Floyd police reform bill MORE (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution Wednesday reaffirming the Senate's support for whistleblower protections and accused Democrats of "fake outrage."
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade A Biden stumble on China? MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Pro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (D-Hawaii) had asked for unanimous consent to pass the resolution, which "acknowledges the contributions of whistleblowers" and throws the chamber's support behind protecting whistleblowers from retaliation.
 
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"The threats we have seen over the last few days are so egregious they demand bipartisan outrage from one end of this chamber to the other, whether you're a Democrat, Republican, independent, liberal, moderate or conservative," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "What's happening here is another erosion of the values of this republic for political expediency."
 
He added that they should "send a message today that the Senate reaffirms our long-standing tradition about defending whistleblowers." 
 
Under Senate rules, any senator can try to pass a resolution or bill, but any senator can object and block passage.
 
Paul objected to passing the resolution after Democrats refused to drop their resolution and instead pass whistleblower legislation that he introduced earlier that day.
 
"I support whistleblowers, and I do think they have a role to play in keeping government accountable ... but what we have seen over the last few years is that we have a system that we should continue to refine," Paul said.
 
He argued that his legislation would "make clear" that President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE should be able to face his accuser. The measure also would expand current whistleblower protections for contractors.
 
"The bill I will introduce today will expand the whistleblower act [and] would be made retroactive so Edward Snowden can come home to live in his own country. All he did was expose that his government was not obeying the Constitution," Paul said.
 
Hirono objected to dropping the Democratic resolution and passing Paul's bill.
 
"My colleague's bill was just dropped on my lap literally just now. I certainly haven't had a chance to read through the bill," Hirono said.
 
She added that she was "flabbergasted" by a provision in Paul's legislation that would apply the Sixth Amendment to impeachment proceedings.
 
"Come forward, but we're going to out you, subject you to threats, intimidation, retaliation," Hirono said, summarizing the impact of the provision.
 
The back-and-forth on the Senate floor came after Paul rankled his GOP colleagues as well as Democrats by calling for the media to disclose the whistleblower's name.
 
He initially made the request during a rally with Trump in Kentucky on Monday night before doubling down on it Tuesday.
 
The whistleblower complaint is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry into whether Trump tied aid to Ukraine to the country opening up a probe into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe West needs a more collaborative approach to Taiwan Abbott's medical advisers were not all consulted before he lifted Texas mask mandate House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act MORE and his son Hunter Biden.
 
Trump and his allies argue that the president should have the ability to confront his accuser, including learning about any potential political biases.

Asked on Tuesday why he hasn't disclosed the name of the individual, Paul told reporters that he "probably will."

"I'm more than willing to, and I probably will at some point," he said. "There is no law preventing anybody from saying the name."