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Paul blocks McConnell from setting up defense bill vote

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulErdoğan: Turkey to announce findings of Khashoggi investigation on Tuesday Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's death Rand Paul: Saudi explanation of Khashoggi's death 'insulting' MORE (R-Ky.) blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEx-lawmaker urges Americans to publicly confront officials Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Democrats slide in battle for Senate 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.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' MORE (D-N.Y.), who rejected Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms 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.