Rand Paul Walks Back Filibuster Threat, Blames Media. (I'm Sorry, Everybody.)

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 4 2013 2:45 PM

Rand Paul Walks Back Filibuster Threat, Blames Media. (I'm Sorry, Everybody.)

Maybe Rand won't stand.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Reporters who joined a conference call with Rand Paul yesterday asked him, twice, whether he'd filibuster a resolution to authorize force in Syria. He only really answered the second time, saying, "I can't imagine that we won't require 60 votes off this." That was a little controversial—Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski has pointed out that a war resolution is by definition pending business, and skips the usual filibuster sand traps. But Paul said he was looking into the possibly, and added that "whether there's an actual standing filibuster, I need to check my shoes and hold my water."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Around 18 hours later, the New York Times got a Paul aide to "confirm" what he'd basically said already.

For the Senate to move quickly, the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, would need unanimous consent at least to bring the authorization of force to the Senate floor.
That is not likely to happen. Moira Bagley, a spokeswoman for Mr. Paul, said he would demand a 60-vote threshold to move forward.

Pretty clear, no? But then came this exchange in the Foreign Relations committee mark-up.

Pressed about the reports by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting, Paul said: "That would be a misinterpretation from the media."

It really isn't! Paul has raised the possibility of demanding a supermajority for a war resolution, and of filibustering it—at least with a talking filibuster—for as long as he can hold his bladder.

Why did Paul back off for a little while? At the time, he was trying to get the committee to approve his resolution:

It is the sense of the Senate that the President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

That failed, 14-5. But Paul's obviously taking every available tack he can to build opposition.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.