Sen. Mike Lee says the Senate waited too long before it got serious about debating the pros and cons of renewing Patriot Act provisions crucial to national security.
Allowing the Patriot Act’s provisions on the collection of telephone records and other security measures to expire was an “irresponsible lapse,” Sen. Mike Lee said Monday, and he’d like to know why the Senate has become so accustomed to legislation that is not completed until the last minute.
“We’ve known for four years this day was coming,” the Utah Republican told CNN’s “Newsroom with Carol Costello” program Monday. “We’ve known for months it was going to be very difficult this time around, and we could have and should have avoided it.”
Lee, one of the Senate sponsors of the USA Freedom Bill, an alternative to the Patriot Act’s bulk collection of telephone metadata, said that there is no way to know if the lapse will end in an act of terror, and he’d be surprised if it did, but he does not think the U.S. government should take that risk.
“So with each passing hour I think we have to ask ourselves, ‘Why is it that we got into this position?'” Lee said. “Why is it that the Senate has become so accustomed to legislating by cliff, by deadline, instead of doing things in the regular order to make sure they’re done in time?”