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Posts in "Rand Paul"
August 14, 2014
The nation’s eyes were riveted on the searing images from Ferguson, Mo., Thursday, but the violent protests in that small St. Louis suburb have also unexpectedly pushed two policy debates closer to the front burner in Washington: Civil rights and the militarization of police.
President Barack Obama called for restraint from both police and protesters, who have clashed since the Aug. 9 police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man.
Civil rights leaders have cited Ferguson as evidence of a need for a renewed focus on the part of Obama and Congress on addressing racial inequality, while others have seized on the use of military tactics and weaponry by police as a issue that Washington must tackle.
A senior Senate Democratic aide was deferential to the White House on strategies for possible legislative actions in the wake of Ferguson, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a former police officer, issued a statement signaling the Senate would be paying attention.
August 13, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul has joined the calls for President Barack Obama to seek congressional approval for an extended military campaign to fight Islamic State forces in Iraq.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) August 13, 2014
June 19, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said President Barack Obama should seek new authorization from Congress before taking military action in Iraq, saying it would be “absurd” to rely on the 2001 authorization to use military force.
“This is a debate we’ve had and the Obama administration as well as many Republicans think that you can stay at war forever based on [the] 2001 use of authorization of force,” Paul told reporters Thursday. “I don’t agree with that. I don’t think one generation can commit another generation to war forever. Full story
May 21, 2014
Updated 3:15 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul wore comfortable shoes to work today, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to hold the floor for hours.
The Kentucky Republican told a small cadre of reporters gathered just off the Senate floor following a 31-minute speech contesting the Obama administration’s use of drones for targeted killings of Americans that he didn’t think he could stall confirmation of David J. Barron to be a First Circuit appeals court judge.
“They wouldn’t give me the extensive time today,” Paul said. “I am going to speak probably right before the vote and try to convince some people. I don’t think I’m having much luck though.”
May 20, 2014
Updated 7:25 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul intends to take the Senate floor Wednesday to contest the nomination of David J. Barron to be a federal appeals court judge, though it doesn’t appear the Kentucky Republican will halt Barron’s confirmation.
That’s in part because the White House plans to release the legal justification for the government’s use of unmanned drones to target U.S. citizens, according to Sen. Mark Udall.
“This is a welcome development for government transparency and affirms that although the government does have the right to keep national security secrets, it does not get to have secret law,” the Colorado Democrat said in a statement. “I am proud the Administration appears to have heeded my call and committed to abide by a recent Second Circuit Court ruling and publicly release this memo. With this decision, I am now able to support the nomination of David Barron to the federal bench.”
It’s unclear exactly how long Paul plans to speak about Barron and the drone program Wednesday, but staffers around the Capitol are preparing for a late Wednesday session.
The drone issue is the same subject that prompted last year’s the #standwithrand filibuster of John O. Brennan’s nomination to be CIA director. Barron wrote memos justifying the Obama administration policy when he served as acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.
“I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the President has the power to kill American citizens not involved in combat,” Paul plans to say on Wednesday, according to an excerpt from his office. “I rise today to say that there is no legal precedent for killing American citizens not directly involved in combat and that any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a President is not worthy of being placed one step away from the Supreme Court.” Full story
May 13, 2014
Senators could soon face a vote on Harvard Law Professor David J. Barron — the author of legal opinions backing the Obama administration’s drone policy — to be a federal appeals court judge.
“I’m going to try to do it soon,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday. ”We got some complaints yesterday, people hadn’t had the time to go downstairs and spend a half hour reading the memos. So I’m sure that they, if they need more time, we’ll get ‘em more time.”
“I went down there this morning. I ran into several other senators there, so they’re working their way through reading the memo,” the Nevada Democrat said.
May 7, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul is blocking quick action on a number of tax treaties, including with Switzerland, citing concerns about the privacy rights of Americans with foreign bank accounts.
“To be clear, I certainly do not condone tax cheats, but I can’t support a law that endangers regular foreign investment and punishes every American in pursuit of a few tax cheats. Most importantly I cannot support a bulk collection tax treaty that has complete disregard for the important protections provided to every American by the Fourth Amendment,” the Kentucky Republican wrote in a letter sent today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
May 6, 2014
Updated 12:44 p.m. | If Harvard Law Professor David J. Barron fails to win confirmation as a federal appeals court judge, it won’t be because he was “blocked” by Sen. Rand Paul.
If Barron doesn’t make it to the bench, it will likely be because Democrats have unease about the legal justifications for drone strikes. In a post-nuclear-option world, Republicans can send letters talking about blocking or delaying nominees but their practical impact is nil.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Tuesday that the Obama administration will allow senators to access classified materials related to the drone program before voting on the Barron nomination.
“I can confirm that the Administration is working to ensure that any remaining questions members of the Senate have about Barron’s legal work at the Department of Justice are addressed, including making available in a classified setting a copy of the al-Awlaki opinion to any Senator who wishes to review it prior to Barron’s confirmation vote. Last year, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had access to the memo, and I would note that in his Committee vote, Barron received unanimous Democratic support,” Schultz said in a statement. “We are confident Barron will be confirmed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and that he will serve with distinction.”
The Boston Globe reported Tuesday on a letter that Paul sent last week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that ”threatened to derail” the Barron nomination. Schultz said in his statement that the White House would, of course, ”defer to Leader Reid on timing on votes of judicial nominees.”
April 24, 2014
Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., aren’t very much alike, but in Time magazine’s view, they’re among the 100 most influential people.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell does not appear on the list, though he wrote the profile for his junior counterpart from Kentucky. McConnell praised Paul for his willingness to speak to a wide variety of audiences and for avoiding attacks on other members of the party.
February 4, 2014
A high-profile overdose and the spike in heroin-related addiction has caught the attention of Congress. And now, lawmakers may crack down.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday called heroin an affliction on the nation, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy said he plans to hold a hearing that focuses on law enforcement, because the drug has become an increasing problem in his home state of Vermont.
“The headlines over the last couple of days have been the death of — in my opinion — one of the great actors of our time, Philip Seymour Hoffman,” Reid said. “He died of a drug overdose of heroin.”
The Nevada Democrat made a point to discuss the topic while Leahy was on the floor, given the rise of heroin usage in the Green Mountain State. Reid noted that Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has called the issue a crisis that spreads addiction and crime.
January 31, 2014
A proposal by Sen. Rand Paul to allow guns in post offices is being met with skepticism by the chairman of the committee that oversees the Postal Service.
The Republican from Kentucky floated his measure Wednesday as an amendment to a postal overhaul bill being debated by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The initial reaction from Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., was not positive, but it’s unclear how the votes will turn out.
January 3, 2014
Updated 1:52 p.m. Jan. 6 | Sen. Rand Paul announced Friday night his intent to lead a class-action lawsuit seeking to stop some controversial National Security Agency programs. And he hopes to raise some money for the effort along the way.
The intent is to get “hundreds of thousands of Americans” to sign on to a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of having a single warrant apply to everyone’s phone records, the Kentucky Republican said in making the announcement on Fox News.
“We think everybody in America who has a cellphone would be eligible for this class-action suit,” Paul said. “If any of your viewers have a cellphone, they just have to go to my Facebook tonight and they can sign up to be part of the lawsuit. We want to overwhelm the government.”
Paul appears to be asking for both additional complainants for the lawsuit and financial support for the effort, with the same pitch appearing on RandPaul2016.com and the RAND PAC website. That group is a leadership PAC. A separate RAND PAC 2016 registered as a super PAC in May 2013, but that group has since disbanded and is not affiliated with the Paul effort. Full story