Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) clashed with a Democratic colleague over amendments during a Homeland Security Committee hearing — leading to the Republican lawmaker walking out.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Paul offered several amendments to the Fire Grants and Safety Act. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who chairs the committee, then explained he also had a second-degree amendment to offer, which led to Paul chiming to say he already “called up a second-degree amendment.”
At one point during their back-and-forth exchange, Paul said, “If this is the way you’re going to run the committee, I would suggest that Republicans leave. I don’t see why we should stick around if you’re going to make up the rules.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) then said: “I would just suggest we all take a couple minutes, lower the temperature, just figure out what the procedure is. There’s no need for us to turn this committee hearing into a partisan, ugly place like we’ve seen in other committees. We don’t need to do that.”
Not backing down, the Kentucky senator said, “I, for one, won’t stay here and would recommend that no Republican stay here if we’re going to have a third-degree amendment that only the majority gets to offer.”
Paul, the ranking member on the committee, proceeded to leave.
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Per the Washington Examiner: “One of the amendments Paul offered would make any fire department that fired its employees for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination ineligible for federal grants unless they reinstated those officers back with back pay. But Peters substituted the amendment by requiring the United States comptroller general to audit and report on barriers that prevented fire departments from accessing grants. Peters’s suggestion was approved along party lines.”
Additionally, Paul also proposed in an amendment “a block on National Institute of Health funding that went to China to fund ‘gain of function’ research on coronaviruses,” as the outlet reported. However, “Peters suggested that the block instead stop NIH funding from going to Chinese fire departments.”
Peters later told reporters, “I look forward to working with Sen. Paul and hopefully we can find common ground to go forward. Some of the amendments he offered were not germane to the substance of the bill that we were dealing with.”
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