A bill that would end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone records won broad support in the U.S. House on Wednesday, but key Republican leaders in the Senate remain unconvinced of the need for reform as a crucial deadline approaches.
The House approved the USA Freedom Act, which would keep vast troves of phone “metadata” out of government hands, as well as make other revisions to the federal government’s surveillance practices, on a 338-to-88 afternoon vote. Similar legislation was adopted last year in the House before stalling in the Senate.
House members of both parties support the approval of the USA Freedom Act. A compromise between privacy and security to keep Americans safe. On the other extreme there are lawmakers who want the law underpinning the NSA program to expire altogether. But, those other intelligence programs are crucial to detecting and preventing terrorist attacks.
Democrats and a significant bloc of Republicans in the Senate are backing the overhauls set out in the House bill, as is President Obama. A White House statement issued Tuesday offered support for the bill, and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. sent a letter to congressional leaders calling it “a reasonable compromise that preserves vital national security authorities, enhances privacy and civil liberties and codifies requirements for increased transparency.
Source: Washington Post: House approves measure ending NSA bulk phone data collection program
By Mike DeBonis and Ellen Nakashima 13 May 2015.