Senate Blocks House Bill on NSA Surveillance, 2-Month Extension

National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. (AP)

National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. (AP)

May 23, 2015

The tug-of-war continues on the Patriot Act Saga as the House tries to end the NSA’s bulk surveillance. 

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, and Rand Paul, both republicans, butted heads over keeping the program. McConnell was in favor of retaining the Patriot Act while Paul blocked any extension what-so-ever.

(Via The Republican-led Senate blocked a House-passed bill and several short-term extensions of the USA Patriot Act early Saturday.

The big stumbling block was a House-passed measure to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic phone records. Instead, the records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell favored retaining the program, but fellow Kentuckian and Republican presidential contender Rand Paul blocked any extension no matter how brief past the midnight May 31 expiration.

“This week, I stood on the floor for roughly 11 hours in defense of the Fourth Amendment and successfully blocked the renewal of the Patriot Act,” Paul said in a statement.

“We should never give up our rights for a false sense of security. This is only the beginning– the first step of many.  I will continue to do all I can until this illegal government spying program is put to an end, once and for all.”

McConnell announced early Saturday that the Senate would begin a week-long Memorial Day break and return Sunday, May 31, just hours before the programs lapse.


The Senate had been pressured by the White House to pass the House bill, which drew a large bipartisan vote last week and had the backing of GOP leaders, Democrats and the libertarian-leaning members.

However, the Senate blocked the bill by a vote of 57-42, just shy of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead.

The vote was followed by the rejected of a two-month extension to the existing programs. The vote went 54-45, short of the 60-vote threshold once again.

After the two votes, McConnell repeatedly asked for an even shorter renewal of current law ticking down days from June 8 to June 2. However, opponents of the post-Sept. 11 law objected every time.

Whatever the Senate approves, must be passed by the House, which had already left for Washington for the Memorial Day recess.

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Disclaimer: This article was not entirely written by Lorra B.

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