Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster

by ASHLEY PARKER, The New York Times  |  published on March 7, 2013

filibuster

A small group of Republicans, led by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, stalled the Senate on Wednesday by waging a nearly 13-hour old-school, speak-until-you-can-speak-no-more filibuster over the government’s use of lethal drone strikes — forcing the Senate to delay the expected confirmation of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Paul, who opposes Mr. Brennan’s nomination, followed through on his plan to filibuster the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee after receiving a letter this month from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the United States in “extraordinary circumstances” like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

On Wednesday, Mr. Paul did exactly as promised, taking to the Senate floor shortly before noon and holding forth for 12 hours and 52 minutes.

Mr. Paul finally wound down shortly before 1 a.m. on Thursday, surrounded by a group of Republican senators and House members who had joined him on the Senate floor in a show of solidarity.

“I would go for another 12 hours to try to break Strom Thurmond’s record, but I’ve discovered that 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,” Mr. Paul said to knowing laughter as he referred to the legendary South Carolina senator known for his 28-hour filibuster. (Mr. Paul could not leave the floor to use the bathroom, making his filibuster at a certain point seem less a standoff between the senator from Kentucky and the administration than a battle between Mr. Paul and his own bladder.)

After almost 13 hours, Mr. Paul offered his final words: “I thank you very much for the forbearance and I yield the floor,” he said, to loud applause.

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