Rand Paul Plans Another Filibuster, Silent This Time, Against Gun Control Legislation


He's not ready to stand for 13 hours again, yet, but Sen. Rand Paul does intend a silent procedural filibuster against new Senate gun control legislation, along with Texas' Ted Cruz and Utah's Mike Lee.

Filibuster This
Photo credit: JASON ANFINSEN / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

As Politico reports:

Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office on Tuesday.

"We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions," the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO….

Conservatives are concerned that once that bill reaches the floor, amendments could stiffen restrictions on gun control.

Moreover, they understand that Reid intends to allow liberal amendments that would limit clip capacity and ban certain assault weapons to be offered — even though they would be defeated — to give Democrats a chance to vote on them. For moderate Democrats in competitive states, that amounts to an opportunity to vote no and show allegiance to gun rights.

Though they don't use the word "filibuster" in the letter, the conservatives are leaving no doubt that they would filibuster on an initial procedural question — the motion to proceed.

As Huffington Post explains, this would be the less-dramatic form of filibuster, looking:

much different than Paul's channeling of "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington." In fact, it won't look anything at all like his prior effort. Under Senate rules, if Reid can't get broad bipartisan support to move to debate a bill, he needs unanimous consent. Paul and Cruz are threatening to withhold that consent, which launches a silent filibuster.

Backers of filibuster reform have argued previously that, at a minimum, Reid should eliminate the ability to filibuster a motion to proceed. Reid declined the opportunity, but has since expressed frustration that gridlock continues.

The "motion to proceed to consider."