The vote to reform how the NSA collects bulk phone data and other types of data failed to pass by a slim margin, but two voters against the USA Freedom Act explain why they voted ‘nay.’
Those two who voted against the bill are Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was the only Republican senator to vote against the bill, and Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who co-sponsored the bill.
Paul has fought against surveillance bills for some time now, most notably in 20011 when he sent a letter to his colleagues in DC explaining his opposition to the Patriot Act. He stated he did not think the Patriot Act was necessary to “achieve valid law-enforcement goals…”
In a similar fashion, Paul voted against the USA Freedom Act on the basis that the bill did not go far enough to strip the NSA of its surveillance powers.
One aide for Paul also discussed with the Daily Beast how Paul also voted against the bill because some parts of the bill would reauthorize parts of the Patriot Act.
Doug Stafford, the aide in question, said, “Senator Paul said, repeatedly, that the bill was not simply an NSA reform bill, that it also as part of the bill, reauthorized other expiring parts of the Patriot Act… he didn’t believe that could vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act, which is what he would have been doing had he votes yes.”
Amash also voted against the bill, which he said he was proud to have worked on and promote, but he also said he could not support the bill as it is currently written.
On Amash’s Facebook page, he wrote how the bill “claims to end bulk collection’ of Americans’ data only in a very technical sense…” Amash further claims the bill was watered-down so much from its original form that it would allow the government to request phone data from phone companies “without probable cause.” He also said the bill “mocks” the Constitution.
“The American people demand that the Constitution be respected, that our rights and liberties be secured, and that the government stay out of our private lives,” said Amash according to the Washington Examiner. “Fortunately, there is a growing group of representatives on both sides of the aisle who get it… We will succeed.”