Sen. Rand Paul’s old-fashioned filibuster Wednesday against CIA nominee John Brennan has gained strength, with several Republicans and one Democrat joining him on the floor.
Paul began the filibuster at 11:45 a.m. to prevent Senate Democrats from ending debate on Brennan and moving to a final vote. The Kentucky Republican spoke on the floor for more than three hours by himself before he was joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — who, like Paul, is a favorite of the Tea Party Movement.
Paul’s effort is aimed at drawing attention to the administration’s drone program, which Brennan played a key role in administering as White House counterterrorism chief.
“I’m here to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination to be director of CIA,” Paul said on the Senate floor Wednesday as he began a long afternoon of speaking. “I will speak for as long as it takes.
“I will speak today until the president says ‘no,’ he will not kill you at a café.”
When Reid (D-Nev.) asked Paul if he’d agree to having a vote on Brennan’s nomination Wednesday night, Paul said he would not stop his filibuster until the president or Attorney General Eric Holder “put that in words” that they “will not kill non enemy combatants” inside the United States.
Paul has had some help along the way today, reports Slate:
Update 3 p.m.: After speaking for more than three hours, Paul tapped out temporarily, tagging in his fellow Republican senator, Mike Lee of Utah, for a few remarks. As the C-SPAN chyron helpfully tells us, “Possible Today: Vote on Brennan Nomination.” That’s starting to look less likely now that Paul has found at least one other lawmaker to share the talking burden.
Update 3:10 p.m.: Rand Paul is being careful not to officially yield the floor (something that would bring an end to his old-school filibuster), but he is allowing others to weigh in with short comments. First it was Utah’s Mike Lee. About 10 minutes later, Texas Republican Ted Cruz arrived to get in on the action as well.
Update 4:02 p.m.: Add two more to the list of those senators helping Rand Paul stall: Kansas Republican Jerry Moran and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden. Wyden plans to vote for Brennan’s confirmation but just said on the floor that he shares some of Paul’s concerns about the administration’s targeted-killing policy. Regardless of Wyden’s general support for Brennan, the filibuster has now gone bipartisan. We’ve now crossed the four-hour mark …
Update: Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and the awesomely named Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) have also made brief appearances to pose questions to Rand Paul to give him short breathers. Those questions are pretty much statements with a question-mark tacked on the end, but they nonetheless have helped the Kentucky Republican continue his filibuster of John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director.
I have to say Senator Paul is slowly earning my support and respect. I had serious reservations about him prior to his election, especially on the issue of Israel and the global war on terrorism, but he is winning me over with his passion for truth and his dedication to small-government principles. Bravo, Senator. Well done – so far.