He did it in 2013 — Sen. Rand Paul famously filibustered for nearly 13 hours against the Obama administration’s policy to use drone strikes to target U.S. citizens deemed enemy combatants operating in foreign countries. Now, the Kentucky Republican and GOP presidential hopeful is doing it again — taking to the Senate floor to try to block reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, especially the section that supposedly empowers the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk.
Sen. Paul took control of the upper chamber at 1:18pm on Wednesday, just as the Senate heads down to the wire over parts of the PATRIOT Act slated to expire at the end of the month. Senators are set to leave Washington at the end of the week; so if Paul’s talk-a-thon is successful, the legislation to keep the NSA mass surveillance program intact could be in jeopardy.
As The Daily Caller notes in its coverage of Paul’s filibuster, the presidential contender has made his commitment to reining in what he considers to be excessive government domestic spying a centerpiece of his campaign.
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“In a campaign email to supporters, posted online by a reporter from Time magazine, Paul said: ‘I will not rest. I will not back down. I will not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand.’”
In opposing the parts of the PATRIOT Act he considers excessive and overbearing, Sen. Paul is standing against his fellow Republican senator from the Bluegrass State, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has pushed for a straight extension of the controversial surveillance law.
By clicking on the video above, you can watch a live stream of Rand Paul’s filibuster. It’s unknown how long Paul will speak, given that the Senate is currently working through the 30 hours of debate on a trade bill and is scheduled to vote one hour after the chamber convenes on Thursday.
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