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Senate votes to extend NSA spying program

Senate votes to extend NSA spying program
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The Senate on Thursday passed an extension of a government surveillance program, sending the bill to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE's desk.

Senators voted 65-34 on the bill, which includes a six-year extension with minimal changes to the National Security Agency (NSA) program.

The vote comes after a tension-filled hour on the Senate floor earlier this week. Opponents tried, but failed, to mount a filibuster to force additional debate on the legislation, with both sides spotted lobbying key holdouts.

And opponents rallied against the bill ahead of Thursday's vote, arguing the legislation is being rushed through.

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"The American people deserve better than the legislation before us. ... The American people deserve better than warrantless wiretapping," said Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichLawmakers scold Trump official over Pacific island trust fund Dem senators tell Trump he doesn’t have ‘legal authority’ to launch preemptive strike on North Korea Overnight Energy: Trump signs solar tariffs | Energy official say ‘bomb cyclone’ justifies coal push | Trump chemical safety pick leaving EPA MORE (D-N.M.).

He added that senators should "consider the gravity of the issues at hand and to oppose reauthorization until we can have a real opportunity for debate and reform."

But the legislation, which also cleared the House last week, appeared likely to pass.

Supporters only needed 51 votes on Thursday, giving them more breathing room, compared to the 60 votes needed on Tuesday's procedural hurdle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.) urged his colleagues to back extending the program ahead of Thursday's vote, calling it "one of the most important tools" for national security officials.

"The men and women we trust to protect this country say this capability is essential to their missions. They tell us that is has saved American lives. That is why we cannot let this capability lapse. The world remains dangerous," he said. 

The law, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows the NSA to collect texts and emails of foreigners abroad without an individualized warrant, even when they communicate with Americans in the U.S.