Sen. Rand Paul ended his quest Thursday to block a vote on the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director after he received an answer from the Obama administration about his question on drones.
Paul's decision to back down cleared the way for a final Senate vote this afternoon, and the chamber confirmed Brennan in a 63-34 vote that crossed party lines.
In a letter to Paul Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the president does not have the authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.
Margaret Hoover, Peter Beinart and Gloria Borger discuss Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster to stall a confirmation vote for President Obama's nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan. He began speaking at 11:47 a.m. on Wednesday and continued until 12:38 a.m. Thursday morning.
Paul used his time on the Senate floor to question the Obama Administration's use of drones against American citizens abroad, and the ability for the president to authorize a drone strike within the United States.
"This filibuster ... is all about getting attention," says Borger. "Because he knows he's not going to stop the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA."
Anderson Cooper talks to Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn about his heated exchange with Senator Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at a Senate hearing on a proposed assault weapons ban.
The debate began when Graham questioned why law enforcement doesn't prosecute people who fail background checks when applying for a gun. His point was that the government should enforce current laws rather than enact new legislation.
Flynn's response was that the background checks are working in those cases by preventing someone who shouldn't have a gun from getting one. He explained there simply aren't enough resources to go after everyone who fails a background check.
David Gergen, Margaret Hoover and Charles Blow argue who's responsible for forced spending cuts taking effect March 1.
Neil Heslin testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the proposed assault weapons ban Wednesday. His son Jesse was murdered in the Sandy Hook school shooting along with 19 other children. Anderson Cooper spoke with Mr. Heslin about his loss and the gun law changes he believes will make school safer.
"I just feel that it's something I have to do...I feel there's got to be changes made," Heslin said about his decision to speak to lawmakers. Despite the difficulty of being exposed to the political tension over gun control during a time of mourning, he believes he would be letting his son down if he didn't testify.
Pain from forced spending cuts is a week away and lawmakers are preparing their aides for the fallout that could hit them like other government workers.
"We've actually budgeted with a 10% cut in mind," Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois, told CNN last week.
Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Florida, reorganized his office in December.
"We had to let people go then because we were anticipating at least a 16% cut," he said.
But members of Congress, the very people who voted to put the automatic spending cuts in place, won't see any change to their annual salary of $174,000.
Because Congress can only change its pay by passing a law to do so.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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