USA Freedom Act Passes As All Of Mitch McConnell's Bad Amendments Fail
from the moving-forward-with-reform dept
As we noted yesterday, rather than allow real (and important) amendments to be added to the USA Freedom Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “filled the tree” with his own amendments that would have stripped out the few small, but important reforms in the USA Freedom Act. Thankfully, however, this afternoon, all of his amendments failed pretty conclusively — allowing McConnell to then give a ridiculous speech on the floor of the Senate about how upset he is that the President has made us all less safe in this time of mounting threats (note that it’s always a time of mounting threats). He also repeated an Associated Press headline about how the expiration of Section 215 was “a resounding victory for Edward Snowden” as if that was an insult, and then noted that it was “also” a “resounding victory” for terrorists who wished to harm us. In other words, a bunch of fear-mongering garbage.
After that, the full vote was taken, and the USA Freedom Act passed by an overwhelming margin, 67 to 32. The bill is likely to be signed by the President within the next few hours, if not sooner.
I know that some people don’t like the USA Freedom Act, but it does include many useful reforms as a starting point. But that’s it. Real reform to the surveillance state just happened. That’s worth celebrating. But it’s only a first step and it’s not nearly enough. A lot more needs to be done, starting right away. Stopping abuses under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and Executive Order 12333 are the next things that need to be taken care of, but there’s a lot more beyond that. This is a real step forward in preventing abusive surveillance, but it’s just one step.