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Rand Paul Raises Money Off Foreign Aid Filibuster, Opposition By Republicans

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Sen. Rand Paul speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Aug. 29, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Sen. Rand Paul speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Aug. 29, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is also raising money off his one-man battle against foreign aid spending that he's used to stall the Senate's passage of government funding this week.

A favorite among many libertarians and the tea party, Paul has used procedural rules to prevent the Senate from passing a measure that would fund the government for six months.

Paul argues that the United States has been wasting billions trying to influence foreign nations like Libya, Pakistan and Egypt. He argues it's time to stop, or at least put tough restrictions on the money.

He predicted Friday that his bill would fail because, he says, the Senate is ignoring the will of Americans.

"I will probably lose this vote, but if you ask your friends. If you go home and ask your friends should we be sending money to countries that disrespect us, that burn our flag, I think you will find 80 percent to 90 percent of the American people wouldn't send another penny," Paul said Friday. "That may be why Congress has about a 10 percent approval rating."

But Paul also appears to hope people will want to send a few pennies his way.

In the email sent Thursday by his political action committee, RANDPAC, and signed "In Liberty, Rand Paul," the Kentuckian asserted that although he had convinced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to put his bill to a vote, "some members of my own party are trying to sabotage the whole thing!"

"It looks like some of my Republican colleagues are determined to continue their support for foreign aid -- so much so that they are attempting to block a vote from taking place," Paul wrote.

A vote is scheduled for around midnight Friday.

He went on to recount the recent attacks related to an amateur anti-Muslim film trailer on YouTube, and asked supporters to call GOP senators and voice their support for his bill. He closed by asking for money to help replace the senators who were opposing him.

"If you can afford a generous contribution to help RANDPAC elect more principled constitutional conservatives who will stand with me in critical fights like these, please give right away," Paul wrote. "Whether it's $500, $250, $100, $50, $25, -- or even $10 -- every dollar will help. Please act IMMEDIATELY!"

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has been one of the lead opponents of Paul's measure, didn't seem surprised that the junior senator was using his apparently principled stand as a fundraising gambit.

"I'm shocked," McCain said sarcastically, although he declined to criticize Paul. "He's free to do whatever he wants. What other people choose to do is up to them."

In Senate floor debate over Paul's legislation, other veteran Republicans sharply criticized his efforts, saying that if America retreated, it would only undermine the nation's long-term goals and hand a win to enemies.

"I know that Rand Paul is as patriotic as anybody in this body, but the fact of the matter is the crazy, Islamic extremist terrorists who are trying to kill us would love nothing more than for this to pass," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "They know they cannot win if we stay engaged in helping people. So they're trying to drive us out because that's their best hope of winning the day. So if you want to empower the terrorists that exist in this world, pass this amendment."

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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