Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to reauthorize surveillance powers under the Patriot Act, but hopes are dimming after the House overwhelmingly voted this week to end the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) bulk data collection program.
According to The Hill, McConnell is in a tight spot as he tries to pursue a renewal of the Patriot Act by the June 1 deadline. He already filed legislation to try to push back the deadline by two months to buy more time.
“He’s really in a box,” Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday before the House vote, according to The Hill. “With all due respect, he’s in a box that the courts have made for him, so to speak, by correctly interpreting the law,” he said, referring to a ruling by a federal court this week that the program is illegal.
In voting for the USA Freedom Act, the House will force the agency to obtain narrower set of records from private phone companies, a move that McConnell has said would land the NSA with “an untested, untried, and more cumbersome system.”
McConnell is committed to passing a “clean” reauthorization bill which would extend part of the Patriot Act for five and a half years.