March 8, 2013

Paul Filibusters Over Confirmation


Senator: The nomination is confirmed.

Shelby: John Brennan’s approval as CIA director came after weeks of fiery debate that actually centered on another controversy: Can the U.S. government use drone strikes to kill Americans who are suspected of terrorism? It is a question that led Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky to give a nearly 13-hour long speech this week.

Senator Rand Paul: I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important.

Shelby: Senator Paul used an old-fashioned filibuster to delay the nomination vote.

Senator Paul: I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle.

Shelby: And the senator stuck to the principal of what a filibuster really is; a long speech that blocks or delays legislative action. Senators aren’t limited on how long they can speak, so they can go on and on for hours and hours, like Senator Paul did in order to prevent a vote.

And unlike in other filibusters, where senators do things like read the phone book, Senator Paul spoke only about the issues.

Senator Paul’s goal was to force a discussion on the federal government’s authority regarding drones.

So far, the U.S. has used drones to kill suspected terrorists in countries like Pakistan and Yemen. Drone strikes have not been used against Americans here on U.S. soil. And during the ninth longest speech in senate history, Senator Paul demanded the White House state plainly that drones will not be used to kill American terrorism suspects in this country.

Senator Paul: No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.

Shelby: Early Thursday morning, Senator Paul stopped speaking, without the response he wanted.

Senator Paul: I’ve discovered there are some limits to filibustering and I’m going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here.

Shelby: Hours later, Attorney General Eric Holder answered Senator Paul in a letter.

General Holder: Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged on combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.

Shelby: Senator Paul said he was satisfied with the response.

Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.


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