Update 5:35 p.m. ET: The Senate has reached a deal allowing votes on two of Rand Paul's amendments to the Patriot Act. The likelihood of them passing is doubtful but The Washington Post is calling the concessions a major "victory" for the freshman Senator, given how difficult it's been for even senior members of the Senate to get amendments voted on. Update 5:56: The Senate has approved the three key provisions of the Patriot Act thus extending the Bush-era law. Both of Paul's amendments failed. The bill moves to the House for consideration.
Senator Rand Paul is fighting a lonely battle. As Congress moves to renew the Patriot Act, the Kentucky libertarian is single-handedly halting the extension of three key provisions of the Bush-era law through a procedural tactic. While the senate voted to end debate today, Paul is demanding the chamber debate the law for a full 30 hours, which would cause the provisions to expire. "Mr. Paul’s tactic is procedural," reports The Wall Street Journal. "By not agreeing to a request for unanimous consent to yield back debate time, he can insist the debate continues until 7a.m. Friday, past the midnight expiration of the provisions."