Senate Just Barely Rejects Plan To Expand FBI Surveillance Powers

from the two-votes dept

Just yesterday we wrote about how the Senate was, somewhat ridiculously, rapidly pushing forward plans on a vote for an amendment to the laws concerning what information the FBI can gather using National Security Letters (NSLs). Despite the fact that the big push for this bill began a few weeks ago, and the fact that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Orlando shooting, cynical Senators including John McCain and Mitch McConnell pointed to the shootings in Orlando as a reason that this expansion of FBI surveillance powers was needed. Of course, the reality is that it wasn't needed, and the law is really there to paper over the fact that the FBI has already been widely abusing its NSL powers to get information it's not allowed to request.

After a vocal debate this morning, the measure (somewhat surprisingly) failed to pass, but by just two votes. It need 60 votes to move forward (it was a vote for "cloture" on debate, which requires 60 votes), and it only received 58. But McConnell already made it clear that the amendment will be reconsidered soon, which means he's likely going to be pushing strongly to get those two remaining votes.

In other words, this particular debate is far from over, and thus it's important to make sure your Senator knows not to support this. You can see the roll call on the votes here to see what your Senators voted. Somewhat surprisingly, neither of my Senators in California voted for it. Feinstein didn't vote or wasn't present and Boxer voted against. I'm guessing that Feinstein would likely vote for it in a revote, given her willingness to support greater surveillance, so it's possible that McConnell really only needs one more vote, unless people can convince some of the "Yea" voters to change their mind.

Filed Under: 4th amendment, doj, fbi, john mccain, mitch mcconnell, national security letters, nsls, politics, warrants


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2016 @ 2:46pm

    McConnell voted Nay...why would he move to get it reconsidered if its not something he would vote for?

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