Saturday, May 23, 2015

PATRIOT Act on life support after Rand Paul stymies renewal efforts

Liberals, libertarians block short-term reauthorizations, leaving a tiny window of opportunity next week for a deal.

"[T]he Senate plunged into chaos Saturday as Republicans found themselves tangled over the PATRIOT Act, Rand Paul repeatedly stymied his leaders, and senators left town with critical national security programs about to lapse. In a rare early morning Saturday vote, the Senate blocked a popular House bill that would rein in controversial government surveillance programs.

"The vote was 57-42, and it needed 60 votes to advance. Immediately after that vote, the Senate ... rejected a straight 60-day extension ... on a 45-54 vote - leaving the Senate with no immediate options to ensure the programs don't expire before the end of the month. Paul ... pushed the Senate into the wee hours of Saturday to protest the bulk collection of phone records ...

"'It's not about making a point, it's about trying to prevent the bulk collection of data,' Paul told reporters after the Senate floor drama. When asked whether his objections were a fundraising tactic, Paul responded: 'I think people don't question my sincerity.'"


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