Mike Lee: Rand Paul Can Delay, but Not Stop, USA Freedom Act

Rick Bowmer/AP
Rick Bowmer/AP

Co-author of the USA Freedom Act, Utah Sen. Mike Lee said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s opposition to the act may delay it a few days but it is destined to pass, according to reports.

The legislation will “end the NSA’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records while also renewing the expiring parts of the post-9/11 counterterrorism law.” Lee emphasized that he agreed with Paul on the merits but disagrees on Paul’s strategy.

The leading Republican behind a Senate effort to rein in the National Security Agency (NSA) said on Sunday that he expected to have the 60 votes necessary to advance his bill later in the afternoon.At the same time, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) acknowledged that Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) pledge to “force an expiration” of parts of the Patriot Act may delay the final passage until later in the week — after the three provisions expire.

At the same time, Independent Angus King was not as kind in his criticism of Paul’s tactic.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) has opposed Lee’s bill, because it would not impose any requirements on phone companies to hold onto subscribers’ records so they could be handed over to the NSA.

However, he appeared to accept on Sunday that the bill seemed destined to pass.

“I would hope that those who are making a big deal of standing in the way and potentially blocking realize that all they’re potentially doing is to slow something down for two or three days,” King said.

“Really it’s a question of whether people are going to make a big production of objecting and it ends up being passed on Tuesday or Wednesday and we’re in the same place we were, only we lost two or three days,” he added. “I don’t want to exaggerate the risk, but it creates the risk that we wont have a tool in our national security toolbox.”


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