Thursday, May 21, 2015

McConnell sets up Saturday Senate votes on NSA

"Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved Thursday to end debate on two bills authorizing the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, setting up a pair of rare Saturday votes in the Senate. McConnell filed cloture on the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which would reform the NSA programs. That bill passed the House in a 338-88 vote but has run into resistance from McConnell and other GOP senators. He also filed cloture on a two-month extension of the existing Patriot Act, which authorizes the NSA's collection of phone data, a controversial program exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The Senate is now set to vote to end debate on both bills on Saturday. A Saturday session could be avoided if a deal is reached earlier, but that would require the acquiescence of every senator. Without action by the Senate, provisions in the Patriot Act that the administration has used for the NSA surveillance programs will expire on June 1. With the House set to leave Washington on Thursday afternoon, that also means there would be at least a short lapse in the programs unless the Senate approves the House-passed bill."


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