He used the time to declare, twice, that on Thursday he would be more long-winded, vowing to take the Senate floor and “filibuster” a spending deal that would raise the debt ceiling.
Paul’s Senate speech, it turned out, lasted not quite 19 minutes. It was never to be a talking filibuster – in which a member of Congress speaks indefinitely to hold up other legislative action – because the spending deal was already headed for a scheduled procedural vote.
But Paul contended that an indefinite filibuster was possible if 41 of his colleagues supported him in a vote scheduled for 1am ET on Friday. “We will find out who the true conservatives in this town are, ” he said on the Senate floor.
Paul “has been and continues to filibuster the unlimited debt limit increase, ” said a spokesman for the senator. “If 41 senators stand with Sen. Paul, the filibuster will continue.”
There was no sign that conservatives were answering the rally cry.
At the debate, Paul had seemed to announce a longer speech.
“I will stand firm, ” he said in his opening statement. “I will spend every ounce of energy to stop [the budget deal]. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it. And I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say enough is enough; no more debt.”