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John McCain Shows Sympathy For Filibuster Reform

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John McCain
John McCain

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed sympathy with supporters of filibuster reform -- albeit in a low-key tone.

During a Senate floor discussion of the defense authorization bill, McCain took a swipe at Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his filibuster threats and stall tactics.

"I've just been informed that the senator from Kentucky has objected, voiced an objection to taking up any further unanimous consent agreements or votes," McCain lamented. "That means that there will be many, many amendments which have been approved by both sides which will now not be allowed to be offered or acted upon."

Paul's maneuver is known in the Senate as a hold. It's enough to make McCain sympathize with Senate rules reform.

"All I can say to my friend, the chairman, is that again I find it disappointing that one member of the United States Senate feels that his particular agenda is so important that it affects the lives and the readiness and the capabilities of the men and women who are serving in the military and our ability to defend this nation," McCain said. "And much to my dismay, it lends some credence to the -- to the argument that maybe we ought not to do business the way that we are doing here in the United States Senate."

The argument he's referring to is being made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has pledged to take up filibuster reform.

But Paul's move could also be seen in the opposite light. He has regularly used stalling tactics to stand up for civil liberties, including opposition to indefinite detention.

A Paul spokeswoman said the senator has since lifted his hold, and is negotiating with the bill's leaders on a path forward.

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