Rand Paul blocks Senate resolution backing protection for whistleblowers

 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHealth care workers account for 20 percent of Iowa coronavirus cases Pressure mounts on Congress for quick action with next coronavirus bill Schumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation WhatsApp limiting message forwarding in effort to stop coronavirus misinformation Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill 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 John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 BidenTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic The Intercept's Ryan Grim says Cuomo is winning over critics 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."