'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 PaulGOP senators call for probe of federal grants on climate change Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Key ObamaCare groups in limbo | Opioids sending thousands of kids into foster care | House passes bill allowing Medicaid to pay for opioid treatments US watchdog: 'We failed' to stem Afghan opium production 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 ClintonSessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance Melania Trump puzzles with 'I really don't care' jacket Grassley wants to subpoena Comey, Lynch after critical IG report 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 RubioPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer Senate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Hillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract 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 CruzSenate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed Trump renews call to end filibuster amid immigration furor 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 McConnellPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer Charles Krauthammer dies at the age of 68 Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos MORE (R-Ky.) has introduced a clean reauthorization bill, but others have called for a vote on broader reform. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBernie Sanders: Trump thinks like an authoritarian Democrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor Trump's America fights back 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.