Three senators took the unusual step of going to the Senate floor to denounce a “hold” by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on bills to outlaw synthetic recreational drugs across the U.S., reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Let’s hear what the objections are, and then pass these bills,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has been taking aim at a group of chemical compounds marketed as so-called bath salts, herbal incense, and research chemicals.
Despite a bipartisan coalition for anti-drug legislation — a House version passed by wide margin in December — Klobuchar and her allies find themselves bollixed by Paul, who by Senate tradition can single-handedly hold up legislation. Paul spokeswoman Moira Bagley said he believes “law enforcement of most drug laws can and should be local and state issues.” She said that Paul’s hold does not prevent Senate leaders from bringing the bills up for a vote, however it might be delayed. Long-time congressional watchers say the tactic has been used with increasing frequency in recent years, particularly by Paul, a libertarian Republican who, like his father, presidential candidate Ron Paul, is unafraid of challenging the Washington establishment.