Sen. Rand Paul is taking credit for advancing a bill he opposes.
A day after forcing a temporary shutdown of the National Security Agency's bulk collection of America's metadata, the Kentucky Republican said Monday night that his actions actually boosted the surveillance-reform bill known as the USA Freedom Act, which will likely pass the Senate in the coming days despite his repeated—and vociferous—objections that it doesn't go far enough protecting the privacy rights of Americans.
Noting that the Senate failed to get the requisite 60 votes before Memorial Day recess and subsequently voted overwhelming Sunday to move the bill forward, Paul told reporters as he left the Capitol that his blockade of the bill helped Freedom Act advocates.
"The government will no longer be collecting in bulk all Americans' records under a generalized warrant," he said. "So I think that's a big step forward."
"I like to look at the bright side of things," Paul added. "Before I got involved there were 57 votes. Even though I object to the final vote, there's now 77 votes for ending bulk collection. So you could say that I—in an unusual way—persuaded 20 people to switch their vote and to vote to end bulk collection. It's kind of a different way of persuading people, but it seemed to work."