House Rules Committee Bars Consideration of Amendments to Bill on NSA Spying

May 12, 2015

WASHINGTON – The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would amend the Patriot Act’s Section 215. That provision, which the National Security Agency relies on for its phone records collection program, is scheduled to expire on June 1.

Last Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the program as illegal, ruling that Section 215 could not be read to authorize the bulk surveillance. The American Civil Liberties Union does not formally support or oppose the USA Freedom Act but is calling for significant changes.

Michael Macleod-Ball, acting director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, had this comment:

“Last week’s historic court decision makes clear that this bill must be strengthened to protect privacy rights. Following the court’s ruling, the House should have amended the bill to prevent the government from amassing and keeping the information of innocent Americans. The Senate should not make the same mistake and instead remedy the bill’s many deficiencies, which have been criticized on both sides of the aisle.

“Letting Section 215 expire would be preferable to passing the current version of this bill, which fails to adequately protect Americans’ information from unwarranted government intrusion.”

A letter sent today to members of Congress from the ACLU listing recommended changes to the bill is at:
https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-house-members-regarding-usa-freedom-act

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