Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) caved on Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) demand for a vote on his bill to end aid to some Middle Eastern countries.
Paul has been filibustering the Senate and holding up all legislation until he could get a vote on his bill to end aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt.
Reid finally agreed to allow the vote in order to have an expedited vote on the spending resolution, H.J.Res. 117, that continues to fund the government through March. The House passed the resolution last week.
But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) objected to Reid’s motion to vote on Paul’s bill, saying more time for debate is needed and amendments should be offered.
“I would hope that the Majority Leader would have some understanding that we’re talking about cutting off aid to major allies in the Middle East and he wants to have 60 minutes debate equally divided?” McCain questioned. “I’ve watched this Senate deteriorate at a rate that is spectacular.”
Reid said he’d be happy to allow more time for debate but that the time for amendments is over. He also said he wasn’t surprised that Republicans have been hiding behind Paul as the obstructer and that they're worried about division on the issue from within their own party.
“I shouldn’t be surprised I guess, that all this attention on Sen. Paul for holding things up, it’s really not just Sen. Paul,” Reid said on the floor Wednesday evening. “We need to continue to see if we can work our way through the log jam that the Republicans have put up … but Rand Paul isn’t holding up things here as has been rumored the last few weeks.”
Reid said if Republicans continue to stall, votes will continue into the weekend in order to pass the continuing resolution.
McCain said Reid was “invoking a precedent” by allowing one member to “hold up the entire body.”
Reid also tried to pass by unanimous consent the House and Senate be allowed to conference on the Middle Class Tax Cut Act — H.R.8 and S.3412 — but Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) objected to that, as well as S.J.Res 41, which would express the concerns of Congress over a allowing a nuclear Iran. Kyl also objected to Reid's unanimous consent request to pass H.R.9, as amended by S.3521, the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act.
Kyl said he’s confident that leadership will be able to come to an agreement to allow a vote on Paul’s bill and pass the spending resolution.