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'16 hopefuls rush to weigh in on NSA ruling

'16 hopefuls rush to weigh in on NSA ruling
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Candidates running for president in 2016 released divided statements following an appeals court ruling that found the National Security Agency's mass collection of U.S. phone records is illegal. 

The reaction Thursday fell into three camps: those who called for Congress to pass a reform bill, those who called for the Supreme Court to finish the job, and those who remain supportive of the program.

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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.), who has filed his own lawsuit over the program, said he was "pleased" with the ruling and called on the "Supreme Court to strike down the NSA's illegal spying program." 

"To celebrate today's ruling, we've lowered the cost of the NSA spy blocker in our campaign store," Paul tweeted, referencing the simple device that covers up a computer's webcam when not in use.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE did not speak about the decision directly but said Congress should pass the USA Freedom Act, a reform bill that would effectively end the program, by requiring that phone records be stored with telephone companies. 

She said on Twitter that it would be "a good step forward in ongoing efforts to protect our security & civil liberties."

On Thursday morning, The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the surveillance program "exceeds the scope" of what Congress authorized, arguing the government's interpretation represented a huge shift in the U.S. approach to fighting terrorism. 

Three of the four senators who are running for president released laudatory statements. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (R-Fla.) continued to support the spy program and called for its reauthorization. 

"The solution is not to get rid of a program at a time when we know that the risk of homegrown violent extremism is the highest it's ever been," Rubio said on the Senate floor. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (R-Texas) said the ruling confirmed what the public already knew. He also called for the Senate to pass the reform bill.  

"The USA FREEDOM Act ends the NSA’s unfettered data collection program once and for all, while at the same time preserving the government's ability to obtain information to track down terrorists when it has sufficient justification and support for doing so," Cruz said in a statement. 

The three GOP candidates in the Senate have been divided on the issue since last year. Paul has previously opposed the Senate's surveillance reform bill because it would reauthorize parts of the Patriot Act. Rubio has opposed the bill for different reasons, saying the program is needed to fight terrorism. 

As Congress approaches the June 1 deadline to reauthorize portions of the Patriot Act, the House is slated to take up reform next week. It is unclear how the Senate will proceed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) has introduced a clean reauthorization bill, but others have called for a vote on broader reform. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.), who is mounting a long-shot bid against Clinton, said the government can protect the public without all-encompassing surveillance powers.

“We can do that without living in an Orwellian world where the government and private corporations know every telephone call that we make, every website we visit, every place we go," he said. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a likely GOP candidate, did not immediately offer a statement. But he has supported the program in the past.