Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to restore Americans’ eroded privacy rights by ending the government’s dragnet collection of phone records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.
An identical bill was introduced in the House on Tuesday, and lawmakers from across the political spectrum called on Congressional leaders to take up the measure ahead of a key deadline for expiring surveillance authorities.
Senator Leahy said: “Today we are introducing a bill to end the NSA’s bulk collection program. The bipartisan, bicameral USA FREEDOM ACT of 2015 is the product of intense and careful negotiations between the House and Senate. If enacted, our bill will usher in the most significant reform to government surveillance authorities since the USA PATRIOT Act. I commend Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Congressman Sensenbrenner, and Congressman Nadler for their bipartisan efforts in the House. Together with our coalition in the Senate, we show today that there is a bipartisan path forward to end the NSA’s dragnet surveillance and protect Americans’ privacy rights.”
The Senate version of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 released today is cosponsored by Senators Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). It also has the support of the administration, privacy groups, and the technology industry. An identical bill was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and others.
An outline of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 can be found here, and text of legislation can be found online.