The Senate voted 72-23 to extend three provisions of the Patriot Act which were set to expire at midnight. The House subsequently voted to extend the provisions and the bill was sent to President Obama to be signed into law.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had threatened to hold up the vote and allow three provisions of the act to expire unless he got a debate and a vote on his amendments. Ultimately both amendments failed, but Paul told reporters he was taking a stand.
“Well I think there are victories and then there are symbolic victories, and I think we had a symbolic victory here in the Senate in the sense that we did get to talk about some of the constitutional principles,” Paul said.
“23 votes against the extension of the Patriot Act are much better than zero or one,” Paul said.
“I don’t think it came easy, I’m kind of worn out,” Paul said. “But I consider it to be a great success that we got to debate it.”
Paul said his role in the Senate is to draw attention to constitutional provisions which get shuffled aside. Several Senate Republicans said
“I think he’s standing up for what he believes in and he’s got elected just like I did and he’s got all the rights of a Senator,” Sen. John Cornyn told TPM.
“He feels very deeply about his positions, and I have a lot of respect for him, he’s a very fine young man,” Sen. Orrin Hatch told TPM. “He’s a gentleman and I think he realized that people wanted to get home for Memorial Day.”
Hatch said he couldn’t get on board with the Leahy-Paul amendment which would have added more oversight to some of the most controversial provisions of the act.
Here’s a montage of Paul speaking out against the Patriot Act on the floor of the Senate today: