On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) requested a vote on two amendments to S.3457, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) blocked a vote on those amendments and has not allowed a free and fair debate on a very important issue to the American people.
The Paul Amendments would condition foreign aid for Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan on certain preconditions. Senator Paul is very concerned about Pakistan’s continued incarceration of Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani citizen who helped the United States capture and kill Osama bin Laden.
Senator Paul argued that Majority Leader Reid’s act in blocking a vote was a “charade” and a “farce:”
The Majority filibusters their own bills. They fill up the Amendment tree, they don’t even pretend like they are going to work with the other side. How do you expect to pass legislation if you won’t allow any input from the other party?
Senator Paul argued that he was willing to request a quick 15-minute debate before a vote on these two amendments. He was willing to cooperate, and wanted to put the Senate on record as conditioning foreign aid for Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan on certain preconditions.
Senator Paul asked for the consent of Majority Leader Reid to call up and vote on these amendments. The Majority Leader responded by mocking the good Senator from Kentucky:
I respect the interest of the Senator from Kentucky in relation to Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, but every now and then the Senate should be able to focus on a small good thing. To veterans this is a big thing. I like helping them. So I understand my friend’s tenacity. But I also understand how the Senate operates. I just think my friend from Kentucky maybe should have run for Secretary of State rather than the Senate.
When Majority Leader Reid said that Senator Paul should have run for “Secretary of State,” his statement was over the line. First of all, as the Majority Leader well knows, no person is allowed to run for the position of Secretary of State. Furthermore, Majority Leader Reid should fully understand that Congress has the power of the purse to fund or not fund certain activities. Foreign aid is within the spending power of the Congress.
This is yet another example of Senate Majority Leader Reid’s actions to prevent a full and fair debate in the Senate.