Politics

Rand Paul, Floor Objections, Golden Fleeces and the D.C. Streetcar

Kentucky Republican wants a vote on his amendment before one on a spending deal

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is objecting to a vote on the budget deal unless he gets his way on an amendment he wants to offer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Congress lurched closer to a government shutdown, Senate leaders offered a bone to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is objecting to an expedited vote on a spending deal unless he gets his way on an amendment to the package. 

The floor procedure is a bit complicated, but here goes. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made a unanimous consent request that at 6 p.m. Thursday, the Senate proceed to a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur on the House amendment to the Senate amendment to the legislative vehicle for the continuing resolution to fund the government.

The unanimous consent request also included that once cloture was invoked, essentially debate cut off, Paul would be recognized to make a budget point of order. Paul, who wants to offer an amendment to reinstitute budget caps that the spending deal removes, objected.

Watch: Rand Paul Objects to Expedited Vote on Budget Package

Paul, with more than a handful of floor charts, was at his position on the far side of the front row, with McConnell at his leadership desk. The two Kentuckians waited to start the exchange until Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York came to the floor.

An aide to McConnell served as stage manager, making sure the three senators followed the plan.

After the objections, Schumer walked over to Paul and could be overheard, off-mic, discussing why Paul would not accept a vote on a budget point-of-order on the revised spending caps.

Paul’s view is that no one pays particular attention to votes on budget points of order and the applicable motions to waive.

After the objection theater theatrics, Paul made his way through his charts, which included an homage to the late Sen. William Proxmire’s “Golden Fleece” awards that spotlighted what the Wisconsin Democrat considered wasteful spending, and “A Streetcar Named Waste,” which knocks the streetcar that plies Washington’s H Street corridor. 

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