Senate narrowly rejects new FBI surveillance
© Greg Nash
The Senate narrowly rejected expanding the FBI's surveillance powers Wednesday in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. 
 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
A handful of Republicans — including GOP Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One Senate rejects effort to block Trump's Qatar, Bahrain arms sales Senate rejects effort to block Trump's Qatar, Bahrain arms sales MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland Senators clinch votes to rebuke Trump on Saudi arms sale MORE (Utah) — voted against the GOP proposal that was spearheaded by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.) and backed by leadership. 
 
Sens. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoCongress can defend against Russia by outlawing anonymous shell companies On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump MORE (R-Idaho), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (D-Ind.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinUS women's soccer team reignites equal pay push US women's soccer team reignites equal pay push Bipartisan senators push new bill to improve foreign lobbying disclosures MORE (D-Calif.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThere is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Ending the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean MORE (D-N.J.) didn't vote. 
 
The Senate GOP proposal—being offered as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill—would allow the FBI to use "national security letters" to obtain people's internet browsing history and other information without a warrant during a terrorism or federal intelligence probe. 
 
It would also permanently extend a Patriot Act provision — currently set to expire in 2019 — meant to monitor "lone wolf" extremists. 
 
Senate Republicans said they would likely be able to get enough votes if McConnell schedules a redo.
 
"I’m not positive but I’ve been told, because I don’t count votes, that there were a couple of people who were in favor who were not there," McCain said.
 
 
McConnell urged support for the proposal earlier Wednesday, saying it would give the FBI to "connect the dots" in terrorist investigations. 
 
"We can focus on defeating [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] or we can focus on partisan politics. Some of our colleagues many think this is all some game," he said. "I believe this is a serious moment that calls for serious solutions." 
 
But Democrats—and some Republicans—raised concerns that the changes didn't go far enough to ensure Americans' privacy. 
 
 
"Due process ought to apply as it relates to guns, but due process wouldn't apply as it relates to the internet activity of millions of Americans," he said ahead of Wednesday's vote. "Supporters of this amendment...have suggested that Americans need to choose between protecting our security and protecting our constitutional right to privacy." 
 
Approximately a dozen Democratic senators—including Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidImpeachment will reelect Trump Impeachment will reelect Trump Biden faces first crisis as front-runner MORE (D-Nev.)—voted to move forward with the GOP proposal.

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHow Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment MORE (D-Fla.), who supported it, rejected his colleagues' argument that it infringes on privacy.

"Before you can even issue a letter you've got to go and get a judge approval," he told reporters. "We've never had that protection in the past on issuing national security letters."
 
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also came out in opposition the Senate GOP proposal on Tuesday, warning it would urge lawmakers to vote against it. 
 
—Julian Hattem contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:08 p.m.