Rand Paul just blocked the defense bill, and John McCain is not happy about it

Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, center, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., left, talk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, during the committee's hearing to consider the authorization for use of military force in Syria. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. is at right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is calling for a debate on rolling back authorizations for the use of military force that began during the George W. Bush administration.

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Paul objected to a consent request from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to begin defense authorization debate. Paul wants to offer amendments to the defense policy bill.

According to a Tweet from Paul’s senior strategist, Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s amendments would seek to end the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

“Senator Rand Paul requested two bipartisan amendments, one on ending indefinite detention and one on AUMF’s,” Stafford said.

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“He looks forward to working with leadership and the committee to get this done soon. What he got last night were vague promises, which have been ignored for several years on this bill. So he objected while it is worked out,” Stafford concluded.

Paul has consistently stated that the congressional authority of war must be restored, introducing an amendment to the 2016 defense spending bill stating that a President cannot use “vague, out-of-date authorities to send our troops to war.”

“One generation cannot bind another generation to perpetual war,” Paul said in a 2016 op-ed for Time magazine. “Our Constitution mandates that war be authorized by Congress. Period.”

“My colleagues who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution should support my amendment or at least have the decency to debate it,” Paul wrote.

“Think about it for a moment,” Paul said. “These original authorizations were passed back when some of the men and women fighting in our current conflicts were still small children. No president—including this president—deserves this kind of extra-constitutional power.”

“The sacrifice we ask of our soldiers also deserves more respect. Re-examining the proper legal relationship over congressional vs. executive authority is long overdue,” Paul insisted.

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Senator McCain, on the other hand, was not pleased with Paul’s objection.

“For 55 years in a row, Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides our men and women in uniform with the resources, capabilities, and pay and benefits that they need to perform their missions on behalf of the American people and keep our country safe,” McCain said in a press release on Friday. “This legislation is more vital than ever. Global terrorist networks, increasing great power competition with Russia and China, malign Iranian influence spreading across the Middle East, a North Korean dictator racing to acquire missiles that can hit the United States with nuclear weapons—the threats to our national security have not been more complex or daunting than at any time in the past seven decades.”

“It is unfortunate that one senator chose to block consideration of a bill our nation needs right now,” McCain continued. “We must uphold our solemn obligation to provide for the common defense and give our men and women in uniform the training, equipment, and resources they need to defend the nation. Our brave service members — many now serving in harm’s way — deserve nothing less,” McCain concluded.

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