Lee Leads Colloquy on USA Freedom Act, Receives Support from Lynch, Clapper, White House

Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) led a colloquy regarding the USA Freedom Act on the Senate floor.  

Bill co-author Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and co-sponsors Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), and Senator Richard Bloomenthal participated and shared their support.
"It’s not a question of if things like this will be abused; it’s a question of when they will ultimately be abused," said Senator Lee. "It’s our job as U.S. Senators to help protect the American people against excessive risk to this type of abuse."
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director of Intelligence James Clapper also sent a joint letter to Lee and Leahy declaring their strong support for the legislation.

Overall, the significant reforms contained in this legislation will provide the public greater confidence in how our intelligence activities are carried out and in the oversight of those activities, while ensuring vital national security authorities remain in place. You have our commitment that we will notify Congress if we find that provisions of this law significantly impair the Intelligence Community’s ability to protect national security. We urge the Congress to pass this bill promptly.

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Earlier in the day, the White House issued a Statement of Administrative Policy calling on the House to pass the USA Freedom Act and for the Senate to act on the bill shortly.

The USA FREEDOM Act’s significant reform would provide the public greater trust and confidence in our national security programs and the checks and balances that form an integral part of their operation. Without passage of this bill, critical authorities that this legislation would reform could expire on June 1. The Administration supports swift House passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, and urges the Senate to follow suit.

 Read the full statement from the White House here.
The USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 ends bulk collection under Section 215 and requires greater oversight, transparency, and accountability with respect to domestic surveillance authorities.  Three provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), including Section 215, are due to sunset on June 1.