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Jacobs writes: "Senators from Kentucky and Oregon launch bipartisan filibuster to prevent a vote on extending the Patriot Act without amendment."

Rand Paul holds up his cell phone to make a point about NSA surveillance. (photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP)
Rand Paul holds up his cell phone to make a point about NSA surveillance. (photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP)


Rand Paul and Ron Wyden Plan to Filibuster Patriot Act Renewal

By Ben Jacobs, Guardian UK

12 May 15

 

Senators from Kentucky and Oregon launch bipartisan filibuster to prevent a vote on extending the law without amendment

entucky senator Rand Paul and Oregon senator Ron Wyden are teaming up in a bipartisan filibuster to block renewal of the Patriot Act.

Key provisions of the controversial legislation, including one which allows bulk collection of phone data by the NSA, are set to expire at the end of June. Many Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans support reforming the Patriot Act through the passing of the USA Freedom Act. However, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has been pushing to renew the Patriot Act without amendment.

Although it is unlikely that any clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act would receive a majority in the House of Representatives, the threatened filibuster by Paul and Wyden, first reported by Buzzfeed, would make it impossible for McConnell to even get a vote on extending the Patriot Act. Wyden's office confirmed the planned filibuster to the Guardian.

With the clock ticking, the question is whether there is any compromise that can receive support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. While the USA Freedom Act appears likely to be passed by the House, its prospects in the Senate are far from certain.

In 2014, a vote on the USA Freedom Act received the support of 58 senators, two short of the 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed to a final vote. The bill received support of 54 out of 55 Democrats then in the chamber as well as four Republicans, including the 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. Paul voted against the bill as he did not see it as going far enough.

However, since the last vote on the USA Freedom Act, the shift in Senate control to the GOP has led to several Democratic surveillance skeptics being replaced by Republicans who appear far more comfortable with controversial NSA programs.

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+12 # CelticNavigator 2015-05-13 06:07
Great news! The Patriot Act Abomination must be destroyed before it destroys us. It was a HUGE brain fart to begin with, erroneously passed in panic and cowardice. Time to grow the hell up.

To imagine that such a huge bill was created in a short time after 9/11 is insane. It no doubt existed for some time earlier and was yanked off the CIA's shelf, given a catchy name and presented to our leadership... who didn't even read it all before voting on it, of course.
 
 
+2 # MidwestTom 2015-05-13 06:41
Rand Paul is obviously not a main stream politician. I like him.
 
 
+5 # rhgreen 2015-05-13 08:01
I don't agree with Rand Paul on lots of things, but I do on this one. He makes a good US Senator, even if not a US President.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2015-05-13 11:00
Can't agree with such as hypocrite on most things, especially his shameful hypocrisy as regards women, but on this I am surprised to find I agree with him.
 
 
+6 # Edwina 2015-05-13 09:34
About time this repressive legislation was retired. Our politicians claimed "fear and loathing" after the 9-11 attacks, but with the Middle East in flames, we've moved on to other threats -- a rapprochement between China & Russia, the Ukraine, negotiations with Iran. Good the "progressives" and "conservatives" can work together on something. (In quotes because neither of these Senators is entirely one or the other.)
 

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