Paul blocks McConnell from setting up defense bill vote

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (R-Ky.) blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan 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 SchumerChuck SchumerBiden's Supreme Court commission ends not with a bang but a whimper Hispanic organizations call for Latino climate justice in reconciliation Senate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act MORE (D-N.Y.), who rejected Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVirginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  Sinema's no Manchin, no McCain and no maverick Progressives say go big and make life hard for GOP 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.