Progressives Push Back on USA Freedom Act

Ask House to Stand Down in Wake of NSA Court Ruling

Saying last week's court ruling invalidating the National Security Agency's bulk data collection of communications records "fundamentally changed the landscape for surveillance reform," CREDO, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, Civic Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have urged progressive House members not to support the USA Freedom Act if it comes to the House floor this week.

A Hill source said it was expected to come up for a floor vote May 13. The bill passed ovewhelmingly out of committee, but not because all the 'yes" votes were in love with the bill. Even the bill's bipartisan sponsors said they still had issues, but had gotten the clear signal from leadership that even one amendment would blow up the carefully crafted compromise.

On April 30, the House Judiciary Committee approved (25 to 2) a "clean" (no amendments) bill, which would at least rein in, and some say end, NSA bulk metadata collection. Then on May 7, the Second Circuit federal appeals court ruled that bulk phone record metadata collection is not authorized by the Patriot Act."

The progressive groups told the Congressional Progressive Caucus a bill that would reauthorize the Patriot Act data collection with the compromise adjustments was no longer attractive given the court ruling.