Heinrich: USA FREEDOM Act Only Responsible Path Forward
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is calling for the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 to ensure the Intelligence Community has an updated legal framework to strengthen national security while also protecting the privacy rights of Americans. The legislation will end the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection program that has allowed the government to collect billions of Americans’ private records while suspecting them of no wrongdoing.
“With just days before the expiration of the PATRIOT Act, it’s disappointing that Senate Republican leaders continue to avoid taking what I believe is the only responsible path forward: passing the USA FREEDOM Act without delay,” said Sen. Heinrich. “This bill is a bipartisan compromise that has already passed overwhelmingly in the Republican-led House of Representatives. It’s reckless to ignore the broad, bipartisan support to end the bulk collection of law-abiding Americans’ private phone calls, while ensuring that our intelligence community has the tools it needs to focus more narrowly on the records of actual terrorists. We can and we must balance the government’s need to keep our nation safe with its duty to protect our Constitutionally guaranteed liberties.”
Last week, Senator Heinrich voted for the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. The measure failed to overcome a filibuster despite receiving 57 votes, just short of the 60-vote threshold. He then objected to passing measures to extend the PATRIOT Act unchanged. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that the NSA’s bulk collection program is illegal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate last week without a clear path forward on addressing key PATRIOT Act provisions that expire on June 1, 2015.