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.

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Comments on “Senator Harry Reid Going To Try To Push Through USA Freedom Act Before GOP Takes Over Senate”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The other possibility is that, now that he is able to claim that he doesn’t have the power to do anything, he’s seizing the opportunity to look like he’s trying to do something, to appease the people who like it, without the danger of succeeding, thus ticking off the other people.

This kind of posturing seems to be increasing, or I’m just noticing it more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You just happened to have noticed it more.

The majority of Americans have been long a snooze in it watch over their polyTicks.

Do any of you remember this?

“Ask not what your country can do for you… but what YOU can do for your country!”

These days its… vote in a democrat promising to give you stuff if you elect them in. Of course the repukes are not entire ignorant of this little tactic either, just not quite as frequent with the nanny state expansion.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Of course the repukes are not entire ignorant of this little tactic either, just not quite as frequent with the nanny state expansion.”

I disagree. Republicans seems to be just about equally eager to expand government benefits as the Democrats. They difference (such as it is) tends to be more about who the recipient of the benefits are.

There is an old Zappa lyric that sums up the respective slants pretty well — although the difference is less stark than it used to be. From the song “Hot-plate Heaven at the Green Hotel”:

Republicans is fine,
If you’re a multi-millionaire
Democrats is fair,
If all you own is what you wear
Neither of ’em’s REALLY right,
‘Cause neither of ’em CARE

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The Dems are excellent at this. Obama talked up jobs and taxes before both of his elections and then nothing since. When Obamacare was passed, they could have taxed the daylights out of the rich too since they conrolled the whole thing, but nope, not a peep. They only talk taxes when they know they can’t get them passed. That way they look like they are trying to help the little guy when in fact ehey want the little guy to remain a little guy. A little guy that votes Democrat that is.

Edward Teach says:


Why the heck is the Intelligence Community even considered for part of a “compromise”? They’re federal employees, not a constituency! This is just weird! It’s like reading about Soviet or Red Chinese politics in the 70s, when the Red Army or the PLA was listed as one of the parties with some skin in an (internal) fight in the respective country. What the hell are we, a police state? A military dictatorship?

The “intelligence” community needs to suck it up. If they don’t, they’ve gone rogue, and need defunding and disbanding.

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