House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did not spend her night glued to C-SPAN 2 for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's daylong filibuster, but she thinks her fellow Democrats could learn a thing or two from the Republican lawmaker's tactics.
"There are certain things that fall into the category of 'life is too short,'" Pelosi joked during a press briefing Thursday when asked if she watched Paul's filibuster. "I myself had four speeches to make last night. I was doing my own thing. I have my own responsibilities. I took note that it was happening, and let me say that I hope the Democrats will use the filibuster sometime as well in that way."
To protest revelations that the Justice Department believes the president can legally use drone strikes against citizens on American soil, Paul on Wednesday filibustered John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA, speaking for 13 hours on the Senate floor. While senators routinely use the threat of a filibuster to slow or shut down business, few if any ever go through with the actual act of standing on the Senate floor and refusing to stop speaking.
While Paul's filibuster didn't ultimately block the Senate from holding a vote on Brennan's nomination, the attention he received during the speech brought renewed attention to the discussion of Obama's controversial drone program, which has targeted and killed many terror suspects in Pakistan, including a handful of Americans.
Pelosi moved to dispel fears that Obama would authorize drone strikes on Americans domestically. But she argued that members of Congress should be made aware of those policies and the arguments behind them.
"I don't think that the administration has any intention of using drones in the United States against American citizens or otherwise. So I don't have that fear. But I do support and have been a fighter for—whoever the president is—of Congress being informed and having sufficient oversight over the actions they might take in the balance between freedom and security."
The last major traditional filibuster was conducted in December 2010 by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, over extending the Bush-era tax rates.