The US Senate went off the rails trying to pass a bill on China, which got delayed until after Memorial Day

rand paul quail cocaine
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

  • Shenanigans unfolded on the US Senate floor Friday morning, delaying major votes.
  • The GOP stall tactics derailed votes Thursday night, followed by lengthy speeches the next morning.
  • Presentations on quail cocaine use and philosophy bumped a vote on China until after Memorial Day.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A series of floor speeches by GOP senators Friday morning delayed major votes and provided for social media fodder.

Although the Senate was set to break for recess on Thursday night ahead of the holiday weekend, chaos began to unfold with a last-minute push to thwart a more than $250 billion bill designed to make the US more technologically competitive against China.

The delays, first caused by a vote on an amendment proposed by Sen. Mike Crapo and then furthered by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, culminated in several Senators making lengthy remarks on the Senate floor the next morning.

A highly specific set of floor charts accompanying Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s presentation began to go viral, starting with an overview of government research spending on the “cocaine and risky sex habits of quail.”

The NIH quail example has been used by Paul for years, but this time was being used to raise concerns over what he described as gross overspending in the Biden administration’s newly proposed federal budget.

Paul was followed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, who spoke about US pension investments in Chinese companies, the US-Mexico border, and other matters for around a half-hour.

Then came Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who walked colleagues through a lesson in political philosophy about “human flourishing” and “the twin pillars of any thriving human civilization,” free markets, and voluntary civic institutions.

Other Republicans were not as enthralled with the presentations as Paul, Tuberville, and Lee.

One GOP senator griped to CNN’s Manu Raju using an expletive, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered some dry humor.

In the end, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer successfully moved to delay the vote on the China tech bill until after the Senate’s Memorial Day recess to prioritize a vote on a bill to create a bipartisan January 6 commission.

The Senate ultimately fell short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead with a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection in the first successful filibuster during President Joe Biden’s administration.

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