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December 18, 2014

Posts in "Rand Paul"

December 14, 2014

How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

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Eleven Republicans sided with Ted Cruz on all three key votes on the ‘cromnibus.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a question that will prove crucial next year when Mitch McConnell takes the reins of a new Senate: Just how big is the Ted Cruz caucus?

Three votes on the “cromnibus” late Saturday night suggest it could be as large as 22 senators — a dangerously high number for McConnell — or as few as a handful.

Let’s break down the three votes — on filibustering the $1.1 trillion package, on Cruz’s point of order aimed at targeting the president’s immigration action, and final passage. Full story

December 12, 2014

Paul and Rubio Spar Over Foreign Policy, ISIS AUMF

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Marco Rubio has staked out a more hawkish foreign policy than rival Rand Paul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The nation may have gotten a little taste of 2016 Republican presidential politics Thursday as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky squared off with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on foreign policy.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup, Paul, a potential 2106 presidential candidate, offered an amendment setting geographic limits to an Authorization for Use of Military Force cleared by the committee that would set parameters on the nation’s fight against the terror group known as Islamic State, ISIS, or ISIL.

The amendment failed on a 13 to 5 vote. But the preceding debate, which was respectful, saw Paul and Rubio, who may also seek the Republican nomination for president, disagree over how much Congress should rein in the commander in chief.

The split highlights a debate within the party over America’s role abroad that will likely play out in the run up to 2016. Full story

December 9, 2014

Watch: John Kerry Testifies on ISIS War

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a 2 p.m. hearing on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force in the United States’ war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Secretary of State John Kerry will testify.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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December 8, 2014

McConnell Plots a Functional, Bipartisan Senate

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McConnell said divisions among Senate Democrats in the next Congress will trump any discipline problems within his Republican majority.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mitch McConnell wants to hit the ground running in January — and he thinks Democrats are ready to join him in crafting a more open, functional Senate.

In an exclusive interview in his Capitol office suite, the incoming majority leader told CQ Roll Call he’s been preparing his would-be chairmen to move quickly since spring.

“The worst experience any majority can have is that you convene and you look around and nothing’s ready to go. So what I said to the members who hoped they would be chairmen [was], ‘Let’s don’t have that problem. Be thinking now about legislation that you have, preferably that enjoys some Democratic support, because we certainly didn’t think we were going to have 60 and we don’t,’” the Kentucky Republican said.

McConnell pointed to conversations he’s had with Democrats, whose cooperation will be required to get the Senate functioning as he would like.

Full story

December 4, 2014

John McCain Knocks Rand Paul’s Lame-Duck Push to Declare War on ISIS

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It takes a lot to surprise Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has served in the chamber for nearly 30 years, but Thursday’s Foreign Relations Committee water bill debate did just that.

The committee considered a surprise effort by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to try to attach a Declaration of War against the terror group known as Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL to an unrelated water bill the committee was considering.

“It was the most bizarre meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee that I have ever attended in my life, or ever expected to attend,” McCain said.

“It’s a living, breathing argument against lame-duck sessions,” he said. Full story

Paul Gambit Poised to Force Vote on ISIS (Video)

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Paul wants an ISIS vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul scored a victory Thursday in forcing an end-of-session debate on authorizing force against Islamic State militants.

The Kentucky Republican, and potential 2016 presidential candidate, used a legislative gambit to press the issue — which the Obama administration has been reluctant to specifically engage with Congress on. Paul first tried to attach a Declaration of War against the terror group also known as ISIS or ISIL to an unrelated water bill at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Paul agreed to refrain from offering his amendment after the panel scheduled a Monday hearing on the issue, where Secretary of State John Kerry may testify. The hearing will be followed by a classified briefing, with a markup and vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force on Wednesday.

“I think the most important responsibility of a legislator is to vote yay or nay on whether or not we are sending our young men and women to war and I think we have been derelict in that duty. … The president, I think in his arrogance has assumed he doesn’t even need to ask,” Paul said when leaving the markup meeting. “Today we forced the issue and next week we’ve been promised a hearing on this as well as a vote on this and I am satisfied with that.”

Full story

November 24, 2014

Rand Paul Wants Senate Vote on Declaring War on ISIS

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Paul wants a Senate vote on ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul has upped the ante in the debate over the role of Congress in the fight against ISIS.

The Kentucky Republican formally announced Monday he would be introducing a resolution to formally declare war against the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, setting up the possibility of a contentious vote as part of a potential use of force authorization debate next year.

Full story

October 21, 2014

10 Questions for Eric Holder’s Replacement as Attorney General

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Cruz, left, and Sessions both sit on the Judiciary Committee and will have a change to grill the nominee for attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eric H. Holder Jr.’s replacement as attorney general will face a grilling from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the elections, with the position key to enabling President Barack Obama’s pen-and-phone executive agenda and with numerous hot-button issues under the purview of the Justice Department.

The nominee to replace Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is also leaving, will also face much the same treatment.

Here are 10 questions the nominees will likely hear:

1. What is the limit of the president’s executive authority on immigration? Full story

September 26, 2014

Cruz, Paul Make Early Presidential Pitches at Values Voter Summit

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Cruz and Paul each courted Values Voter Summit conservatives. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

In a preview of what Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire can expect to see a lot of over the next year, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul reached out to conservatives at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

While neither Cruz nor Paul have officially announced a bid for the Republican nomination, both speeches laid out the fundamentals for a presidential run.

For Paul, it was allaying the concerns of many in the religious right that the Kentucky Republican is too libertarian for their Christian beliefs.

“Where there is liberty, there is always plenty of space for God,” Paul said, drawing on Corinthians 3:17, which states, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Paul said America was in a “full-blown crisis — a spiritual crisis,” and he said the nation’s moral compass was “wavering.”

“Those of us who love freedom must realize that freedom is not a license to do as you please,” he said. “Freedom can only be realized when citizens know self-restraint, or, put another way, virtue.” Full story

August 14, 2014

In Wake of Ferguson, New Focus on Civil Rights, Militarized Cops

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Ferguson could convince Reid to resurrect nomination of an Obama assistant attorney general nominee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

August 13, 2014

Rand Paul Wants Obama to Seek Approval for Extended Iraq Effort (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

June 19, 2014

Rand Paul: Obama Should Seek New Authorization for Iraq Strikes

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Paul Predicts Democrats Will Back Barron, Doesn’t Plan Extended Speech (Updated) (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.”

Full story

May 20, 2014

Rand Paul to Take the Floor to Again Contest Drone Policy, White House to Release Memo (Updated)

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Paul appears set to take the floor to again protest drone policy. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Reid Hopes for Senate Vote on Barron Nomination ‘Soon’ (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

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