Rand Paul’s promised debt ceiling filibuster clocks in at just 19 minutes

Tom McCarthy, The Guardian

Senator who has twice staged marathon speeches to delay Senate votes declared he would filibuster on Thursday, but a scheduled vote interrupted him

Of all the candidates at Wednesday’s Republican debate, Kentucky senator Rand Paul talked the least, with just over six minutes’ speaking time.

He used the time to declare, twice, that on Thursday he would be more long-winded, vowing to take the Senate floor and “filibuster” a spending deal that would raise the debt ceiling.

Paul’s Senate speech , it turned out, lasted not quite 19 minutes. It was never to be a talking filibuster – in which a member of Congress speaks indefinitely to hold up other legislative action – because the spending deal was already headed for a scheduled procedural vote.

But Paul contended that an indefinite filibuster was possible if 41 of his colleagues supported him in a vote scheduled for 1am ET on Friday. “We will find out who the true conservatives in this town are,” he said on the Senate floor.

There was no sign that conservatives were answering the rally cry.

At the debate, Paul had seemed to announce a longer speech.

“I will stand firm,” he said in his opening statement. “I will spend every ounce of energy to stop [the budget deal]. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it. And I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say enough is enough; no more debt.”

Paul talked for 13 hours on the Senate floor in 2013 in an attempt to change US drone warfare policy, and in May he talked for 10 hours to protest against warrantless government surveillance.

The spending legislation was expected to clear the procedural hurdle early on Friday.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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