In-Depth: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced this bill in the hopes of providing a short-term extension of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act — assuming that the USA FREEDOM Act fails in the Senate after passing in the House.
While the USA FREEDOM Act made it through the House on a 338 to 88 vote, Senators have expressed doubts about the bill's ability to get the requisite 60 votes in the Senate.
This drama follows Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) 10 and ½ hour filibuster in opposition to the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ data, and a threat by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to filibuster any attempt to provide a ‘clean’ short-term extension of the PATRIOT Act. For their part, House Republicans
like Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) called a
‘clean’ extension “a waste of time” and “posturing” — respectively — while others are happy to see the PATRIOT Act expire.
Of Note: A federal appeals court ruled that the NSA’s bulk data collection was illegal
on May 7, 2015 — and while the ruling did mention the “seriousness”
over the program’s constitutionality under the Fourth Amendment, it did
not specifically strike the program down over constitutional concerns.
It did, however, open the door to a full challenge of the constitutionality of the NSA’s data collection practices.
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user JuditK)