WASHINGTON — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday he saw the best opportunity to defeat a resolution to strike Syria in House, where he said it was possible a bipartisan coalition could vote down any military action.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters after a more than three hour Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on authorizing force against Syria, the libertarian leader said he had started to speak with several Senators and representatives to begin to drum up opposition.
But he said Democrats would need to join them: he pointed to a narrowly defeated House amendment to defund the National Security Agency as proof that bipartisan opposition was possible.
“I think the NSA vote the other day, is a good example of Republicans and democrats coming together on an issue. I think the only problem here is because it’s so high profile, some Democrats are going to vote party politics over their conscience and it’ll be close,” he said. “The only way to defeat it is a bipartisan fashion. People always complain we don’t have enough bipartisanship around here, this would be a example of bipartisanship if we could stop this war.”
Paul, who earlier this year staged a 13-hour filibuster on President Obama’s drone policy, did not rule out doing the same to protest a military strike on Syria.
“Whether there’s a standing filibuster, I’ve got to check my shoes and my ability to hold my water and we’ll see. I haven’t made decision on that,” he said.
Paul aggressively questioned Secretary of State John Kerry during Tuesday’s hearing, but also acknowledged in his questioning that a resolution to use force in Syria could ultimately pass.
“Say you’re going to obey the Constitution and if we vote you down — which is unlikely, by the way, but if we do — you would go with what the people say to their Congress and you wouldn’t go forward with a war your Congress votes against,” he pressured Kerry.
Kerry would only say that he did not know what the President would do but that Obama had the constitutional authority to strike even if Congress voted the measure down.