On a 90-to-10 vote, the Senate on Tuesday voted to shelve a resolution proposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on the U.S. involvement in Libya, four days after Paul and a fellow freshman, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), threatened to hold up Senate action until Paul’s measure was brought to the floor.
Fifty-three Democrats and 37 Republicans voted to table Paul’s resolution, while only 10 Republicans voted to proceed on it. In addition to Paul and Lee, the other eight Republicans voting against tabling the measure were Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Jim DeMint (S.C.), John Ensign (Nev.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Jeff Session (Ala.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).
The Paul resolution is comprised of one sentence: a statement made by then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2007 that the president cannot unilaterally act on matters of war.
Paul’s office sent out a release to supporters Tuesday afternoon declaring that the amendment would be up for a vote.
“I look forward to entering into a vote to gauge my colleagues’ opinion on whether or not the President has the authority to unilaterally authorize a military attack when there is no imminent danger to the United States,” Paul said in a statement. “Since President Obama has yet to come to Congress to address us regarding the military action in Libya, all we have are his words to go by. I hope the sense of the Senate will reflect the constitutionality of this issue.”
Not too long after that, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he was making a procedural move to shelve the Paul amendment.
On the floor after Tuesday’s vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he believed the U.S. role in Libya was “a legitimate issue for debate” and that he expected the Senate to take action on it in the near future.
“That’s a debate we need to have and I will be talking to the Majority Leader about the appropriate time to do that,” McConnell said. “A number of Senators are talking about, among themselves on a bipartisan basis, about what kind of resolution would be appropriate. And certainly the Senate speaking on this issue is something we need to do in the very near future.”