DENVER -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has called it a "slap in the face to conservatives." Likely speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said the process that created it "stinks." But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the first Republican to pledge outright that he'll try to scuttle the compromise debt limit bill designed to kick any tough new vote into 2017.
"I will filibuster the new debt ceiling bill," Paul said at an event on the University of Colorado's Denver campus. "It is horrible, it's hard for me not to use profanity describing it."
Paul also called the bill a "steaming pile of legislation," and urged fellow Republicans to join him. But Paul made the same move in 2011, the first time that the debt limit became a serious bargaining chip between Congress and President Obama.
"We will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals," Paul said then, after agonizing negotiations produced a similar punt of the hard votes. "We will actually vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling next week if we can, but it will be contingent on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution."
In the end, the balanced budget amendment did not pass. The debt limit compromise did, without Paul's vote. But Paul's ambition for this bill is to deny unanimous consent on passage of the House bill, forcing the Senate to work through the weekend, ahead of the Nov. 3 debt limit expiration deadline stated by the Treasury. That, according to Paul's team, would give Freedom Caucus members -- already on record against the deal -- time and space to mobilize opposition.
Since making the decision, Paul has heard from a few other senators who would join him in the slow-down. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is not yet among them.