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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 PaulOvernight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo Overnight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes 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 ClintonPaltry wage gains, rising deficits two key tax reform concerns Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over alleged election interference 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 RubioStudents gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA 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 CruzCruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules 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 McConnellRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Inside the Comey memos Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo MORE (R-Ky.) has introduced a clean reauthorization bill, but others have called for a vote on broader reform. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHannity snaps back at 'Crybaby' Todd: 'Only conservatives have to disclose relationships?' Chuck Todd lashes out at Fox, defends wife in radio interview Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report 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.