Competing NSA Reform Bills Suddenly Lurch Forward In Congress
from the well-this-might-get-interesting dept
In a bit of a surprise move, the House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, caught people off guard this morning by announcing that there would be a markup of the USA FREEDOM Act on Wednesday, complete with a Manager’s Amendment from bill author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. If you don’t recall, the USA FREEDOM Act was the best bet for real NSA reforms. It was far from perfect, but did actually do a lot of good things without adding a bunch of bad things. The amended version scales that back a bit. It’s not as good, but it’s still pretty good. Harley Geiger, over at CDT has a good overview of the Manager’s Amendment, and how it actually improves the bill in certain areas, while Marcy Wheeler highlights both the good and bad of the amendment.
Of course, within just a few minutes of the Judiciary Committee announcing its plans to move forward with the USA FREEDOM Act, the House Intelligence Committee announced that it would hold its own damn markup on the competing “NSA reform” bill from Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, which is designed to look like a shot at NSA reform, but which really would make it easier for the NSA to collect info on people. That bill, called the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (almost none of that is true), is basically the NSA’s prime choice for pretending to be reform.
This sets up a bit of an upcoming fight — assuming that both markups lead to bills getting voted out of committee — to see which bill House Speaker John Boehner is willing to bring to the floor. Basically, Boehner gets to make the final decision on NSA reform at this stage. Will he bring the real reform bill or the fake one?
Filed Under: bob goodlatte, congress, dutch ruppersberger, fisa, house intelligence committee, house judiciary committee, jim sensenbrenner, mike rogers, nsa, reform, surveillance, transparency, usa freedom act