Amash seeks to force a vote to end the NSA’s unconstitutional bulk data collection program

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) will try force a vote to end the NSA bulk data collection program through an amendment to the defense authorization bill if House leaders decide to stall on reform or further water down meaningful provisions of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Amash, one of the fiercest critics of the NSA bulk data collection program, said that he filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that is “materially identical” to the version of the USA FREEDOM Act that cleared the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month. The same version of the measure was also approved House Intelligence Committee.

The National Defense Appropriations Act and the USA FREEDOM Act were both listed for consideration on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) weekly floor schedule. But last minute negotiations with the White House over NSA reform could mean that the USA FREEDOM Act will be further watered down.

The Amash amendment, which is cosponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), is tailored to deny funding to execute a FISA court order for phone records not relevant to an authorized investigation.

Amash offered a similar amendment in July 2013. Though the amendment was narrowly defeated, in a 205 to 217 vote, several members said they wished they’d voted for it after more information came out about the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs.

In an interview last month with United Liberty, Amash was certain that an amendment similar to what he offered last year would pass the House this time around, but he also noted that “[t]here’s more than enough votes to pass the FREEDOM Act.”

“We’re going to push hard for the USA FREEDOM Act. And if we can’t get a vote on USA FREEDOM Act or something comparable, then we’ll use all legislative means to stop this invasion of people’s rights,” he added.

House Rules Committee will meet at 3 pm today to consider dozens of proposed amendments to the National Defense Appropriations Act, including the Amash amendment.


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