The National Journal on Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr working on a “backup” plan to extend the Patriot Act’s surveillance authorities before they expire at the end of the month, even as House leaders threaten to jam the Senate with their spying-reform bill:
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday pushed the Senate to pass a House bill reauthorizing parts of the National Security Agency’s bulk phone-records program and said his chamber will not remain in session to wait for the Senate despite the end-of-May deadline.
But even as McCarthy made his threat, senators supportive of the NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. call data indicated that they aren’t concerned about the House using the calendar against them. And the time crunch won’t prevent them from seeking other alternatives.
“It’s not like they’re going to jam us on Thursday and leave town and make us believe we can’t send them something else,” Burr, one of the chief defenders of the NSA-spying status quo, told reporters. “We can.”
Although there are quite a few people in Congress who are finally coming to terms with the pointlessness of the current NSA spying, there remains a strong legion of staunch defenders of such unabated powers. This is going to be a fight worth paying close attention to as it affects every single person in the United States.