Unanimous Consent Request - Executive Calendar

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: March 6, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. First let me thank my friend from Kentucky for his courage and conviction. Having been here a while in the Senate, we have only rarely, as Senator Thune pointed out, had extended debate on any matter. A body that came into existence for the purpose of lengthy discussions of weighty issues has, in recent years, had very little lengthy discussion of weighty issues.

If I understand the issue the Senator from Kentucky feels so passionately about, it is that the administration should answer a question that is pretty easily stated, as I understand it, as follows: Does the administration take the view that a drone strike against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil would be an appropriate use of that weapon? Am I correct that is the question the Senator from Kentucky hopes to get an answer to from the administration?

Mr. PAUL. Yes.

Mr. McCONNELL. And I assume the Senator from Kentucky shares my view that it is a pretty easily understood question. It strikes me that the question again is pretty easily understood and has to be something the administration has given some thought to, given the development of this new weapon.

I heard Senator Barrasso earlier today talking about how this technology has changed--we would never have thought of this a few years ago--this technology has actually changed warfare in a very dramatic way. So as I understand it, what the Senator from Kentucky is looking for is how this dramatic new weapon applies to the U.S. Constitution--how the use of it applies to the U.S. Constitution on American soil.

So I think it is entirely appropriate that the Senator from Kentucky engage in an extended debate with the support of his colleagues to get the answer

to this question. I wanted to congratulate him for his tenacity, for his conviction, and for being able to rally the support of a great many people, as well as people who have come over from the House of Representatives who feel also, I gather, that this is a legitimate question the administration ought to be answering.

I might say, at whatever point we get to a cloture vote to extend debate on the nomination of Brennan, it is my view cloture should not be invoked. This is a controversial nominee. Should cloture be invoked, I intend to oppose the nomination.

I congratulate my colleague from Kentucky for this extraordinary effort.


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