By Elizabeth Holland
The Senate blocked consideration of the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685) yesterday, effectively rejecting the last opportunity to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program before the year’s end. The bill – which had the support of the White House, Director of National Intelligence, Senators from both parties, tech companies, and a wide coalition of organizations, including AALL – failed to reach cloture in a 58-42 vote. Sixty votes are required to proceed to debate and final consideration.
AALL is disappointed by the Senate’s decision to block consideration of the USA FREEDOM Act’s sensible reforms. In doing so, Congress allows the NSA’s overbroad domestic surveillance programs to continue untouched and unchecked. AALL will continue to advocate for reforms that balance the government’s interest in protecting national security with Americans’ privacy rights. Though the vote is a setback, we look forward to future opportunities – including the June 2015 reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act – to advance commonsense reforms.