06.02.15

Senate Passes Historic Lee-Leahy USA FREEDOM Act

. . . Reform Bill That Ends NSA Bulk Collection Now Goes To White House For Signing

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, June 2, 2015) – The Senate on Tuesday passed the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, an historic bill coauthored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) to rein in surveillance authorities for the first time since passage of the USA PATRIOT Act.

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee last Congress, Leahy convened six high-profile hearings on surveillance authorities. The Senate’s Tuesday passage of his bipartisan and bicameral measure comes after two years of work and close consultation with partners in the House.

“The USA FREEDOM Act will enact the most significant reforms to government surveillance powers since the USA PATRIOT Act,” Leahy said.  “These reforms would not have been achieved were it not for the sunsets that I and others fought for 14 years ago.  Passage of the USA FREEDOM Act is an accomplishment made possible by meaningful congressional oversight.  It is about living up to our responsibility to ensure the privacy rights of all Americans.” 

Leahy added: “I am proud of the bipartisan and bicameral effort that led to this bill, and I particularly thank Senator Lee, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and Chairman Sensenbrenner for their close partnership on this bill.  I will continue to work to build on these reforms in the years to come.”  

Leahy and Lee joined together in April to introduce the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, along with  cosponsors including Senators Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).  The bill, which overwhelmingly passed in the House last month, is also coauthored by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

An outline of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 can be found here, and text of legislation can be found online.

# # # # #