The United States Senate reconvened on Sunday for a last ditch attempt to debate the future of the NSA’s mass surveillance program – The Patriot Act.
Among other provisions of the Patriot Act, Section 215 is set to expire on June 1. The controversial section is used by the NSA to justify its bulk collection of Americans’ data.
With the possible expiration of Section 215 in sight, the USA Freedom Act was created, and presented as a way to curb Section 215 by transferring the bulk collection Americans’ phone records to private companies. While advocates for the USA Freedom Act claim that it will end the NSA’s bulk data collection, those in opposition say that it wouldn’t end the government’s collection; it would only change the channels the government went through to collect Americans’ records.
While the USA Freedom Act was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming vote of 338-88, it failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate, with a 57-42 vote on Friday.
Click here to watch the live feed from the Senate floor.
GOP Presidential candidate and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has led the charge against either extending the Patriot Act as is, or passing the USA Freedom Act, and he has vowed to force the expiration of the NSA’s massive surveillance program altogether. Paul released a statement on Saturday, stating that he will refused to allow any votes that will extend the provisions beyond June 1, along with any votes for the USA Freedom Act.