By Ramsey Cox - 11/20/13 07:10 PM EST
Senate Democrats filed an amendment to the national defense bill Wednesday that would require more transparency on national surveillance programs.
Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenWhy you should care about National Whistleblower AppreciatIon Day Dems push to require presidential nominees to release tax returns Legislators privacy fight coincides with FCC complaint MORE (D-Ore.), Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D-Colo.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiWomen's Equality Day and the last glass ceiling The Trail 2016: Her big night Clinton to cast election as ‘moment of reckoning’ MORE (D-Md.) introduced the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes more than $625 billion in defense spending for the Pentagon.
Udall and Wyden said they were using the amendment to “jump start” debate on the larger issue and legislation that’s been introduced since reports leaked NSA privacy violations. They said their amendment was needed because the public trust has been “eroded.”
Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinSenate continues to disrespect Constitution, Obama and Supreme Court by not voting on Garland As other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind Will partisan politics infect the Supreme Court? MORE (D-Mich.) asked lawmakers to withhold from introducing NSA-related amendment to NDAA because the issue is so massive and controversial.
Lawmakers are rushing to complete work on the bill by Thanksgiving so that House and Senate conferees would have time to report back to both chambers before the end of the year. Congress has passed an NDAA bill for 51 straight years.
The bill also gives an across the board 1 percent pay raise for services members, establishes protections for victims of sexual assault and allows the transfer of Guantánamo Bay detainees to the United States for trial or foreign countries.