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Another Freshman Threatens to Flex Filibuster Muscle

Sen. Rand Paul plans to filibuster “until we talk about the debt ceiling” in the Senate, he told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” as conservative Republican freshmen raise their voices in an attempt to influence their party.

In an interview posted to C-SPAN on Sunday, the Kentucky Republican said he and a group of other conservatives would support raising the debt ceiling if the chamber passes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

“I’m part of the freshman group in the Senate that’s saying no more. … So [this] week, we will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals,” he said.

“And many of us in the conservative wing are going to present our own proposal [this] week, and that is to raise the debt ceiling. We will actually vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling [this] week if we can, but it’ll be contingent upon passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.”

Paul campaigned on the issue and was among the speakers at a GOP news conference last week to kick off a GOP messaging campaign to support the balanced budget amendment.

“I’m not completely without the sense that we may need to raise the debt ceiling,” Paul said. “But I will only do it if we have significant budgetary reform, and to me that means you have to balance your budget every year.”

Fellow GOP freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) staged a short-lived filibuster last week to protest Congress’ failure to approve a budget.

“Unless we receive some assurance from the Democrat leadership that we will actually start addressing our budget out in the open, in the bright light of day, I will begin to object,” Johnson said in his initial remarks on the floor. “The American people deserve to be told the truth. Unless that happens, I will begin to withhold my consent.”

But Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved swiftly to snuff out the filibuster via a procedural vote.

Reid canceled the chamber’s scheduled July Fourth recess on Thursday in order to deal with the debt limit crisis.

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