Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is bringing a new — and more aggressive — approach to a longstanding debate over the Defense authorization bill, threatening to filibuster the bill to get a vote on his amendment limiting indefinite detention.
Paul’s amendment takes a new tack to curb the military’s ability to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism by affirming they have the right to a speedy trial by jury under the Sixth Amendment.
His push to change the indefinite detention laws for U.S. citizens follows a contentious fight last year where liberal Senate Democrats waged an unsuccessful attempt to scale back the detention laws before an 11th-hour, watered-down compromise was ultimately reached.
Paul’s filibuster threat could throw into flux what’s already been a long-winding road to the floor for the Defense authorization bill, which Armed Services Committee leaders have been clamoring to get on the floor since it passed out of committee in May.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that he would move to the Defense bill after the Thanksgiving holiday, and would allow for an open amendment process with a limited number of amendments managed by Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.).
The day after Reid said the Senate would move to the defense bill, however, Paul put a hold on the legislation, a move Paul took because there was not an agreement to vote on his amendment, according to his office.
The wide-ranging defense authorization bill, which sets defense policy and authorizes more than $600 billion in Pentagon spending, can attract hundreds of amendments and eat up a big chunk of floor time.
In the midst of a jam-packed lame-duck session, Levin and McCain are looking to get through the bill within three days and want to limit the amendments that receive votes.
Levin told reporters last week that he had hoped the bill would be allowed to proceed without a filibuster, and that there would be agreement for a limited number of amendments to be chosen by the floor managers.
Levin and McCain have urged Reid to get the authorization bill — which has passed for 50 years straight — on the Senate floor for months, but Reid did not do so before the election, because he did not want to give Republicans the opportunity to use it to bash Democrats on sequestration.
Levin and Paul’s offices declined to comment on where negotiations currently stand with Paul’s amendment. That appears to be the only hurdle remaining before the Senate could bypass a cloture vote and proceed straight to amendments on the bill next week.
Full article: http://thehill.com/b … tion-for-us-citizens