Open thread: Senate to vote on USA Freedom act

posted at 2:01 pm on June 2, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

The Senate has busied itself with the NSA and its operations under the Patriot Act for weeks, but it appears that it will come to a denouement one way or the other this afternoon. The upper chamber took a short break this afternoon, but it will reconvene in the next few minutes to start holding votes on amendments to the House’s USA Freedom Act, which passed a cloture vote 83-14 earlier today. Suffice it to say that Barack Obama will likely ready his pen this evening, or perhaps tomorrow if the House has to debate changes made in the Senate, if any.

If CNN’s latest polling is accurate, six in ten Americans will be happy the crisis is over:

Americans overwhelmingly want to see Congress renew the law enabling the government to collect data on the public’s telephone calls in bulk, though they are split on whether allowing that law to expire increases the risk of terrorism in the U.S.

With the provisions of the Patriot Act which allow the National Security Administration to collect data on Americans’ phone calls newly expired, a new CNN/ORC poll finds 61% of Americans think the law ought to be renewed, including majorities across party lines, while 36% say it should not be reinstated. …

About half of Americans, 52%, say that if the law is not renewed, the risk of terrorism here in the U.S. would remain about the same. Still, a sizable 44% minority feel that without the law, the risk of terrorism will rise. Just 3% feel it would decrease.

That’s a curious split. There’s a seventeen-point gap between those who think the law makes a difference and those who want it reinstated. What’s the rationale for thinking it makes no difference but renewing it anyway? Maybe it’s a “just in case” position, figuring it’s better to be safe than sorry, even if you’re not quite sure you’ll be safer either way. It makes that majority support for the law look a mile wide and an inch thick.

It’s even more interesting when looking at Barack Obama’s polling numbers on the issue. His approval on “government surveillance of US citizens” is 29/67, an abysmal figure. It’s worse than what Obama scored the month after the Snowden revelations of NSA activity and exposure of James Clapper’s lie to Congress (35/61). And yet 61% want to give Obama the authority he has requested to keep a somewhat-reformed version (arguably not much change at all) of the same programs in place. Go figure.

Nevertheless, the Senate seems set to give Obama what he wants, and what Americans say they want:

The Senate advanced the USA Freedom Act today, putting lawmakers one step closer to passing legislation to reform the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.

With a vote of 83-14, the Senate cleared a major procedural hurdle by invoking cloture on the USA Freedom Act, which has passed the House and would end the government’s bulk collection of telephone data, instead requiring the information be stored by the telephone companies.

But a fight looms over amendments championed by hawkish Republicans in the Senate. The upper chamber is expected to vote on amendments to the USA Freedom Act and potentially on final passage this afternoon.

Rand Paul and Ron Wyden offered nine amendments for votes today, but a group of House lawmakers warned against making changes to the bill:

On Monday afternoon, House backers of the USA Freedom Act denounced the Senate’s plan to amend it.

“These amendments only serve to weaken the House-passed bill and postpone timely enactment of legislation that responsibly protects national security while enhancing civil liberty protections,” said the statement by Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who chairs the judiciary committee, and three other key members.

“The House is not likely to accept the changes proposed by Senator McConnell…These amendments will likely make that sunset permanent. The Senate must act quickly to pass the USA Freedom Act without amendment.”

In other words, it’s not over until it’s over. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s not done being over until it’s done being over, or something. Obama may want to keep the pen on ice for a bit longer.


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Comments

THIS JUST IN:…We are still alive, without the Patriot Act…whew…

Now if we can just get rid of the TSA…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:05 PM

66% want it passed?

Well it’s a good damn thing we’re a republic, not a democracy.

Think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are stupider than that. Yikes.

ramesees on June 2, 2015 at 2:05 PM

And 34 hours later the tiny speck of increased liberty from this government HAS to be taken away again to re-instate a law that hasn’t done anything in 14 years to stop terrorism but much to spy on Americans.

Treason.

Everyone who votes for this should be led from the Congress straight to the gallows. No trial needed, they are committing Treason on live TV.

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:07 PM

THIS JUST IN:…We are still alive, without the Patriot Act…whew…

Now if we can just get rid of the TSA…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Barney Fife would have done better than let 95% of the bombs through. Barney was an idiot but he WAS trying.

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:08 PM

Whenever you see the title of a bill or legislation, like “Freedom Act”, “Affordable Care” just assume the opposite and you will always be correct…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:09 PM

And this is why I thought it laughable that Rand Paul was declaring victory on Sunday.

He didn’t win a battle. He just orchestrated a delaying action.

There are no real victories against the tattered remains of our Republic anymore. At least not from within.

Chris of Rights on June 2, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Obama may want to keep the pen on ice for a bit longer.

I’ve a suggestion where he can put that icy pen.

Happy Nomad on June 2, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Whenever you see the title of a bill or legislation, like “Freedom Act”, “Affordable Care” just assume the opposite and you will always be correct…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:09 PM

At this point they should just start calling them “Slavery Act”, “Expensive Deathcare Act” etc.

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Under what act, authority or legislation is the FBI now secretly conducting surveillance flights over US cities with planes registered to fake companies???…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:17 PM

I wonder how many of those people that want it passed would still say to do so after you told them that none of this spying and data collection has lead to a single terrorist attack being thwarted or stopped.

nextgen_repub on June 2, 2015 at 2:18 PM

…as with OdooshbagCare and OdoooshbagTrade, this is nothing more that a power grab by those determined not to surrender it…

Pelosi Schmelosi on June 2, 2015 at 2:19 PM

Under what act, authority or legislation is the FBI now secretly conducting surveillance flights over US cities with planes registered to fake companies???…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Amendment XXVI, the “PenNPhone” Amendment

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:20 PM

…and what Americans say they want.

Americans wanted Obama in 08 and 12 too.

Mike Morrissey on June 2, 2015 at 2:22 PM

…and what Americans say they want.

Americans wanted Obama in 08 and 12 too.

Mike Morrissey on June 2, 2015 at 2:22 PM

About half did.

hawkdriver on June 2, 2015 at 2:26 PM

Under what act, authority or legislation is the FBI now secretly conducting surveillance flights over US cities with planes registered to fake companies???…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:17 PM

USA Freedom Act

…a tacit admission by our political betters that they’re own policies are the cause of unrest in this Country…

Pelosi Schmelosi on June 2, 2015 at 2:28 PM

About half did.

hawkdriver on June 2, 2015 at 2:26 PM

Of those who bothered to vote.

NWConservative on June 2, 2015 at 2:28 PM

FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities

FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over cities…
Planes carrying video, cellphone snooping technology…
Hidden behind fictitious govt ‘front’ companies…- Drudge

The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.

The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.

Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.

If you really thought that NSA was your only problem, that mass data collection was the only assault on your right to privacy, you’ve been very naive.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Amendment XXVI, the “PenNPhone” Amendment

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:20 PM

I personally think they are just using a revised reading of the fourth amendment, the Constitution being a living, breathing document and all.

NWConservative on June 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM

If this passes it proves that zionists control every aspect of our government and most of our politicians.

We need to stand up to zionists once and for all.

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

If you really thought that NSA was your only problem, that mass data collection was the only assault on your right to privacy, you’ve been very naive.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Local county and state governments are going to start using them to spy on their population to make sure they are complying with all permits and regulations. Who cares about the fourth amendment as written?

NWConservative on June 2, 2015 at 2:33 PM

I like Rand…but what he did the other day saying “Some hope there is an attack so I can be blamed”….

Sounds like something Obama would do….

All about him…
Straw man….
childish and immature…

Grow up Rand, make your point about the law and move on….it ain’t about you

MityMaxx on June 2, 2015 at 2:33 PM

How many people would still want the Patriot Act renewed if the media was actually reporting on what the government is up to?

myiq2xu on June 2, 2015 at 2:33 PM

What’s the urgency? Who thinks that there’re all these jihadis poised to act, only waiting on the NSA to cease and desist on the bulk data collection?

What are they going to do, use these several days lapse to initiate all of these plans, but scrap them as soon as the “USA Freedom Act” is signed?

Hogwash.

I agree with Rand Paul on this one. Get a friggin’ warrant.

hillbillyjim on June 2, 2015 at 2:34 PM

These Peeping Tom Creeps have got an infinite amount of unmitigated gall to call a Boot on the Face, that presumes all regular Americans guilty until never proven innocent, “The Freedom Act”. Hitler, Stalin and Mao must be smiling their faces off in hell.

VorDaj on June 2, 2015 at 2:38 PM

How many people would still want the Patriot Act renewed if the media was actually reporting on what the government is up to?

myiq2xu on June 2, 2015 at 2:33 PM

The reason the media is biased is because zionists own the media in this country, of course they won’t allow reports on anything that will go against the zionist agenda

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:41 PM

If this passes it proves that zionists control every aspect of our government and most of our politicians.

We need to stand up to zionists once and for all.

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

Watch out. I put a zion listening device in your cheese and that bird sitting on the tree branch outside your south facing window is recording you.
Get your hands out of there!

Cheese Wheel on June 2, 2015 at 2:42 PM

Amendment XXVI, the “PenNPhone” Amendment

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:20 PM

I personally think they are just using a revised reading of the fourth amendment, the Constitution being a living, breathing document and all.

NWConservative on June 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Sure it’s not Amendmnt XXX, the “President can do whatever he wants if Congress won’t obey his orders” Amendment?

ConstantineXI on June 2, 2015 at 2:42 PM

They really do love these orwellian names for bills, dont they.

mythicknight on June 2, 2015 at 2:42 PM

The nature of the Leviathan.

The government has no idea how many agencies it has

No list of agencies. No list of agency programs. Yet they are, mysteriously, funded.

What makes us believe that simply because one agency is forced to abandon the administration’s agenda or goals, another can’t be tasked to step in an continue unabated?

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Whenever you see the title of a bill or legislation, like “Freedom Act”, “Affordable Care” just assume the opposite and you will always be correct…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:09 PM

This…

Seven Percent Solution on June 2, 2015 at 2:45 PM

If this passes it proves that zionists control every aspect of our government and most of our politicians.

We need to stand up to zionists once and for all.

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

Those damn Jooooos!!!

How does this prove this, I’d like to know?

Go back to your copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

thebrokenrattle on June 2, 2015 at 2:47 PM

61% want is passed and 99% don’t know what is in it.

Lonetown on June 2, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Who could vote against anything with a patriotic title like the “USA Freedom Act”?

DarkCurrent on June 2, 2015 at 2:50 PM

Whenever you see the title of a bill or legislation, like “Freedom Act”, “Affordable Care” just assume the opposite and you will always be correct…

PatriotRider on June 2, 2015 at 2:09 PM

Patriot Act…..

dmacleo on June 2, 2015 at 2:50 PM

If this passes it proves that zionists control every aspect of our government and most of our politicians.

We need to stand up to zionists once and for all.

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

another idiot needing banning.

dmacleo on June 2, 2015 at 2:51 PM

If this passes it proves that zionists control every aspect of our government and most of our politicians.

We need to stand up to zionists once and for all.

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

The reason the media is biased is because zionists own the media in this country, of course they won’t allow reports on anything that will go against the zionist agenda

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:41 PM

Someone’s looking for the ban hammer.

Chris of Rights on June 2, 2015 at 2:55 PM

61% of the American people want congress to pass a law which replaces the “patriot” act; and which makes legal those practices which the government was doing but which were illegal.
I must agree with H.L.Mencken when he says….

“And it is my fourth (and, to avoid too depressing a bill, final) conviction that the American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages, and that they grow more timorous, more sniveling, more pol. troonish, more ignominious every day.”

Solaratov on June 2, 2015 at 2:56 PM

I like Rand…but what he did the other day saying “Some hope there is an attack so I can be blamed”….

Sounds like something Obama would do….

All about him…
Straw man….
childish and immature…

Grow up Rand, make your point about the law and move on….it ain’t about you

MityMaxx on June 2, 2015 at 2:33 PM

Rand said that after someone had already said something similar in the media. He’s right, too. The way that the establishment Ds and Rs have tried to hurriedly get the surveillance aspects passed (and how many are denying that it’s even occurring), means that they are VERY invested in a program that hasn’t done a damn thing to stop terrorists attacks. Do you honestly think that some of those in Congress aren’t wanting Rand (and Cruz, and Lee) to be shut up when it comes to the Constitution?

I DON’T like Rand, but on this, he’s 100% correct.

mrteachersir on June 2, 2015 at 3:07 PM

If this passes it proves that zionists control every aspect of our government and most of our politicians.

We need to stand up to zionists once and for all.

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:32 PM

The reason the media is biased is because zionists own the media in this country, of course they won’t allow reports on anything that will go against the zionist agenda

tcufrog on June 2, 2015 at 2:41 PM

Isn’t it sad when cousins marry?

Emperor Norton on June 2, 2015 at 3:08 PM

The “Freedom” Act is as inappropriately names as the “Patriot” Act. Just say NO! to tyranny!

FloatingRock on June 2, 2015 at 3:27 PM

Rand said that after someone had already said something similar in the media. He’s right, too. The way that the establishment Ds and Rs have tried to hurriedly get the surveillance aspects passed (and how many are denying that it’s even occurring), means that they are VERY invested in a program that hasn’t done a damn thing to stop terrorists attacks. Do you honestly think that some of those in Congress aren’t wanting Rand (and Cruz, and Lee) to be shut up when it comes to the Constitution?

I DON’T like Rand, but on this, he’s 100% correct.

mrteachersir on June 2, 2015 at 3:07 PM

I agree with him on the bills, and his objections. I am prolly of very like mind with him on this.

My problem is how he is going about getting his opinions heard.

We have had the last 6+ yrs of Obama doing the same thing. I am tired of “leaders” acting like childish brats…..
You want to be the BMOC?? Then act like it.
Not a pansy little kid who can’t handle criticism and express his view point and sway opinion to his thinking.

We have had that kind of leadership for going on 8 yrs. Enough of it.

If you are gonna say you are a better alternative to what we currently have, then show it.

MityMaxx on June 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM

I just love omnibus bills passed by congress without amendment. That’s what our founders imagined, I’m sure.

besser tot als rot on June 2, 2015 at 3:42 PM

How could you be against the Cute Little Adorable Puppies Act? Shame on you all!

SirGawain on June 2, 2015 at 3:55 PM

I’ve a suggestion where he can put that icy pen.

Happy Nomad on June 2, 2015 at 2:11 PM

That’s cold.

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:02 PM

Final vote happening now on C-Span2.

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:13 PM

And it passes, by a vote of 62 – 29, and votes are still being taken.

Who’s bright idea was to make this a simple majority vote?

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:18 PM

If you are looking at issues poll results and scratching your head, that’s a problem with your head.

Issues polls are notoriously easy to manipulate by wording or even order of the questions. The same respondent will give entirely different answers with a few changes.

Yet some people think public policy should follow the current polls.

Adjoran on June 2, 2015 at 4:26 PM

Someone’s looking for the ban hammer.

Chris of Rights on June 2, 2015 at 2:55 PM

Nah, I think it’s best sometimes to let the freaks fly their freak flags.

thebrokenrattle on June 2, 2015 at 4:29 PM

Final vote: 67 – 32.

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Who’s bright idea was to make this a simple majority vote?

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:18 PM

Final vote: 67 – 32.

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:30 PM

2/3rds :)

thebrokenrattle on June 2, 2015 at 4:45 PM

2/3rds :)

thebrokenrattle on June 2, 2015 at 4:45 PM

I wanted a nailbiter, dammit.

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 4:50 PM

How they voted.

Mommys Little Darling on June 2, 2015 at 5:50 PM

What I find interesting is that Ted Cruz voted for snooping on innocent Americans. Proof that the GOP will betray you

Brock Robamney on June 3, 2015 at 5:13 AM

What I find interesting is that Ted Cruz voted for snooping on innocent Americans. Proof that the GOP will betray you. Psalm 146:3

Brock Robamney on June 3, 2015 at 5:36 AM