House to Vote on Repealing NSA Dragnet Phone Surveillance
Bipartisan sponsorship is a good sign. Now let’s see how the vote falls.
The House is expected to vote later this week on an amendment to a roughly $600 billion defense spending package that would repeal authorization for the National Security Agency’s dragnet collection of phone call metadata in the United States.
As part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014, the lower chamber will vote on a measure proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan). In essence, the amendment to the massive Pentagon spending package would end authority for the once-secret spy program the White House insists is necessary to protect national security.
The amendment is one of about 100 that lawmakers are to consider on topics ranging from Egypt to Syria. The Amash-Conyers amendment could be voted on as early as Wednesday.
The expected vote comes days after President Barack Obama’s administration told a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit about the program that the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans, and cannot be challenged in a court of law because no individual Americans have legal standing to sue.