He says he’ll do “everything humanly possible” to try and stop the Patriot Act from being expanded or passed as-is in the US Senate. He’s also stated he’s willing to take to the Senate floor and filibuster the vote in a similar manner to his 2013 filibuster over the nomination of CIA Director John O. Brennan.
Report from the Washington Times:
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he plans to do “everything humanly possible” to try to stop the Patriot Act, key provisions of which are due to expire at the end of the month, including Section 215, which the Obama and Bush administrations have used to justify the NSA’s phone snooping and bulk data collection programs.
“Whether or not I’m allowed to filibuster is another question,” Mr. Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said in an interview that aired Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
He said he could demand 60 votes and not give consent to proceed — “that I will do, so I will do a formal filibuster.”
“Whether or not that means I can go to the floor — some of that depends on what happens, because … you have to get to the floor when the floor allows you to come, so whether that happens or not, I will filibuster the Patriot Act, and I’ll do everything I can to try to adhere to the courts — the courts have now said the bulk collection of records is illegal,” he said. “They should stop immediately.”
A federal appeals panel did recently rule that the bulk data collection is not legal under the Patriot Act. The GOP-led House passed a bill last week with broad bipartisan support that rewrote Section 215 and cancelled bulk data collection, but Senate Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are pushing for a broad extension of the act.
The 2013 filibuster garnered Paul national attention and, at that time, he was only a rumored 2016 candidate. Today, he’s an officially announced 2016 presidential candidate so this will garner major media attention if it comes to a day-long (or night-long) filibuster speech on the Senate floor. As I type this, Senators Cruz and Rubio are deciding how they can capture some of camera time, I’m sure.
Paul has started the filibuster as of 1:18pm ET today, Wednesday May 20, 2015. Here is live video from the Senate Floor: