05.22.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Ranking Member Senate Judiciary Committee On Senate Republicans’ Last-Minute Bid To Reauthorize Surveillance Authorities Without The Reforms Of The USA FREEDOM Act

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On Senate Republicans’ Last-Minute Bid To Reauthorize Surveillance Authorities
Without The Reforms Of The USA FREEDOM Act

May 22, 2015

“Democrats and Republicans have been working for two years to build consensus on legislation that ends the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and reforms expiring surveillance authorities. While I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, we held six hearings on this issue and spent months crafting the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act. Now, just days before a critical deadline and hours before the Senate is set to adjourn, opponents of these reforms are rushing forward with a framework that has not been vetted, has not had public hearings, and does not offer a viable path forward. Instead it extends an unlawful program, ends important sunset dates, weakens needed FISA Court improvements, and strikes important transparency provisions. We do not even have bill text to review. This is not a responsible way to legislate, nor is this the extensive process the Republican majority promised when they blocked the USA FREEDOM Act last year. It is more of the same kinds of pressure tactics that have been used to prevent real reform. The Majority Leader has run out the clock, but there is a responsible choice before us. We must pass the USA FREEDOM Act, and we should pass it today.”

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