Senator Harry Reid Going To Try To Push Through USA Freedom Act Before GOP Takes Over Senate
from the here-we-go dept
There were some rumors that, with the GOP about to take over the Senate, the Democratic leadership might try to finally move forward with the USA Freedom Act. The Senate bill has been languishing, despite it being considered a “compromise” bill that was widely acceptable to both intelligence community folks and many in the civil liberties community. Over the last few months, civil liberties and consumer activists groups have been growing less pleased with the bill, as the deeper they’ve explored it, the more worried they’ve become about some of how it might be abused. However, it’s still considered by many to be a good start, if not (in any way) a perfect bill.
And, now, Senator Harry Reid has made the move to push forward with the bill in the lame duck session before control of the Senate flips.
Reid filed for cloture on the measure late Wednesday, a surprising move intended to address the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance practices before Republicans take over the Senate next year. To advance further, the legislation would need 60 votes to end debate on the measure, and then a majority vote to pass it through the chamber.
It will be interesting to see if they actually have the 60 votes. Part of the delay has been that they weren’t sure that there really were enough votes. And there were still pressures by intelligence community supporters to water down the bill (despite James Clapper saying the bill is okay as is) and by Senators Wyden and Udall to add more privacy and civil liberties protections. If they’re moving for cloture, it may mean that Reid is confident that they have the votes… or it’s a recognition that it’s now or never given the change in control that will happen in January. We’ll find out soon enough if this means there’s enough support, or if Reid just threw a Hail Mary as a final ploy.