Sen. Rand Paul is delaying a Senate debate over a two-year transportation bill to make a statement on aid to Egypt.
After unsuccessfully trying to block judicial nominee Adalberto Jose Jordan, Paul refused to offer consent to quickly move forward to the Senate's $109 billion transportation bill, which President Barack Obama offered his support for last week. The move is expected to delay consideration on the plan until Tuesday.
Paul wants to offer an amendment to the Senate transportation bill that would cut off aid to Egypt if nongovernmental employees working with the U.S. government are detained or held in the country, as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's son, Sam, currently is. And unless the senator decides to offer consent to move forward to the transportation bill, the Senate would be stuck in a 30-hour holding pattern.
"We're not going to grant back our 30 hours unless we get a discussion on Egypt. We're not asking for a lot of time we just want a discussion and a vote on whether or not we should continue sending money to Egypt," Paul told POLITICO.
Paul said he is taking action now because he fears his amendment won't be allowed if he waits until debate on the transportation bill begins.
"What I need is agreement on both sides to let me have a vote. And that's why we're trying to use it as leverage to get a vote on this," Paul said. "Some of them would like to vote on the judge tonight, and I told them I'd allow the vote if they allowed my amendment on Egypt."
The stalling tactic could mean the Senate will have to wait 30 hours to consider the transportation bill, much to the chagrin of Democrats.
"This is beneath the United States Senate of America!" said Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in response to Paul's tactic.
"2.8 million jobs are hanging in the balance. And we have obstruction from our friends on the Republican side," said Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a key architect of the transportation bill.