With only days before the Memorial Day Recess, House and Senate Republicans are fighting over whether an extension of the NSA’s controversial data collection program would be necessary to grant the Senate more time.
The PATRIOT Act’s provisions related to the NSA program will expire by the end of the month and the House passed the USA Freedom Act on a bipartisan vote of 338-88 last week. Currently, everyone’s waiting for Senate’s vote on the act that would put an end to the NSA’s mass surveillance program.
Yet, Republican Senators say that they need more time and an extension of the Patriot Act, while Sen. Rand Paul promised a filibuster if the USA Freedom Act was rejected.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) strongly opposed the Freedom Act on various occasions and wants an extension of the current regulation which would translate into a continuation of the NSA’s bulk collection of data of U.S. phone records.
But the House Republicans said Monday that the vote clearly showed that there was nothing to wait around for.
“If we have a bill with 338 votes why would we need to wait around? When you can get the Republicans and Democrats beyond veto-proof,[…] I think that’s a great bill for the Senate to take,”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stated Monday during a news conference.
But Republican senators have doubts that the bill would pass the Senate since their leader is so strongly against it. They fear that McConnell could design another filibuster like he did in 2014 when a similar bill passed the House although Democrats held the majority.
Republican Senators insisted on a short-term extension of the Patriot Act because time was running low and national security issues should not be solved hastily.
Members of the House will leave town Thursday for the Memorial Day recess and be back by the end of the month when NSA’s surveillance program is set to expire. However, McCarthy recently announced that he plans to keep the House in session over the weekend if Senators oppose the bill.
Sen. Patrick Leahy said that the Senate should either pass the USA Freedom Act or let the Patriot Act die. He also said that he was puzzled by McConnell’s stubbornness when the things were quite simple – the bill either passes the Senate or Congress ends up with nothing.
Additionally, Republicans are strongly divided on other issues as well such as the new U.S. trade deal with Asia and the debate on whether keeping infrastructure workers at work past May 31 or not.
Image Source: Toke of the Town
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