7 Dems Join Rand Paul's Patriot Act 'Filibuster'

He slams NSA surveillance for nearly 11 hours
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2015 1:07 AM CDT
7 Dems Join Rand Paul's Patriot Act 'Filibuster'
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., holds up his cellphone as he speaks before announcing the start of his presidential campaign last month.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Rand Paul spoke for nearly 11 hours yesterday against the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance programs, but the senator didn't hold the Senate floor alone—seven Democrats and three other Republicans, including Ted Cruz, took the floor at times, Politico reports. The House has passed a measure to reform the Patriot Act, but Senate GOP leaders want to renew it without changes, the Guardian reports. "There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer. That time is now and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged," Paul said at the start of his remarks, per CNN.

Unlike Paul's 13-hour talkathon in 2013, the talk yesterday didn't qualify as a true filibuster under Senate rules, according to CNN. Paul's office says it was a genuine filibuster, because it prevented lawmakers from extending the Patriot Act while he was talking, though it isn't clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had intended to file cloture during that time, Politico notes. Since he didn't cause the Senate to "function any worse than usual," a more accurate term might be "fauxlibuster" or "Rand-standing," Alexandra Petri writes at the Washington Post. Authorization for the NSA's bulk data collection program expires on June 1, and during his talk, Paul slammed President Obama for not ending it through executive order, CNN reports. (More Rand Paul stories.)

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