Reid urges Senate to back NSA reform
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason Reid2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Panel: How Biden's gaffes could cost him against Trump MORE (D-Nev.) urged senators on Monday to pass House legislation that would overhaul the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance program.

“I would hope that we could move forward on what the House has done,” Reid said in comments on the Senate floor.

ADVERTISEMENT

The House is set to vote this week on the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s bulk collection of phone “metadata” and require the agency to ask private companies for a narrow set of phone records.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump faces crucial decisions on economy, guns Are Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' MORE (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans oppose the House bill and are pushing for a clean extension of the existing Patriot Act law, which expires on June 1.

Reid said that he hopes McConnell “will reassess his priorities and instead choose to protect Americans' civil liberties.”

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory to opponents of the NSA program. It declared that the Patriot Act’s Section 215 did not authorize the NSA to engage in sweeping collection of Americans’ phone records, effectively finding the program to be illegal.

Reid said that the court's ruling underscores that the law must be reformed.

“It must be extended and reformed,” he said. “It would be irresponsible to merely reauthorize and not reform. How can you reauthorize something that's illegal? You can't. You shouldn't.”