US Surveillance, Syria at Issue on Defense Bill
Limits on secret U.S. surveillance programs and President Barack Obama’s push to help Syrian rebels were in dispute as the House weighed legislation to fund the nation’s military.
The House planned to begin debate Tuesday on the $598.3 billion defense spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, and late Monday the House Rules Committee voted to allow votes on the contentious issues.
Tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats insisted that debate on the bill include amendments changing the way the National Security Agency conducts its recently disclosed program of collecting phone records of millions of Americans. The same unusual coalition joined forces on amendments barring the administration from arming the Syrian rebels without congressional approval.