Republican Sen. Rand Paul is holding up the Senate floor this week with a filibuster calling for an end to U.S. financial support to Egypt.
The Kentucky senator is protesting the Egyptian government’s treatment of Americans working at non-governmental organizations, some of whom have been blocked from leaving the country and are now being forced to stand trial on charges stemming from their work, as our Los Angeles Times colleagues have reported.
“This is something we should make a clear and unequivocal statement about,” Paul said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “The message needs to be louder and more firm. … We will not tolerate any country holding us citizens as hostages.”
Paul’s legislation would block financial aid until the White House certifies the Egyptian government is not “holding, detaining, prosecuting, harassing, or preventing the exit from Egypt” of American workers.
Unable to get a quick Senate vote, Paul is holding up confirmation of one of President Obama’s judicial nominees, Adalberto Jose Jordan, to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The nomination cleared a procedural hurdle with an overwhelming 89-5 vote Monday evening.
But Paul is forcing the Senate to conduct at least some of the remaining 30 hours of required debate on the judicial nominee. Often, that time requirement is waived by senators when an issue gains wide bipartisan support.
The senator has vowed to similarly filibuster a pending transportation bill unless his amendment is allowed a floor debate and vote.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask the Senate to consider this proposal,” he said.