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Rand Paul Threatens to Keep Senate in Session for Vote on Pakistan Aid

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Senior administration officials will be on the Hill this week to brief lawmakers on the security challenges in the Middle East as the investigation continues into last week's events, including the killing of four Americans at a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a closed briefing planned for Thursday morning.

This is not the first time Paul has tried to filibuster a bill over the Pakistan amendment. However, Reid has blocked his attempts using procedural maneuvers. Paul tried to get a vote on a Pakistan aid amendment during the June debate on the Senate's farm bill, but Reid stopped that as well.

Some Senators - such as Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) - have questioned the wisdom of not only Paul's proposal but also of voting on it without a full debate on Pakistan.

Plus, there is the danger that foreign policy votes could be misinterpreted both at home and abroad.

Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the GOP's top foreign aid appropriator, blasted Paul's amendment.

"Pakistan is a country with nuclear weapons that is hanging by a thread. I think it would be a very bad idea," Graham said of cutting off aid.

He added that aid should have some conditions but said he was "worried about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Pakistan falling into extremist hands. ... Now is not the time to disengage." 

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