NSA reformers rule out short-term deal

NSA reformers rule out short-term deal

Lawmakers behind a surveillance reform bill that sailed through the House this week are making it clear they won’t accept a short-term deal to accommodate Senate leaders.

A bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers on Thursday rejected any potential for a short-term deal to renew controversial National Security Agency (NSA) programs for just a few weeks or months while GOP leaders in the Senate come up with new legislation.

“The Senate should not delay reform again this year,” Reps. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jim SensenbrennerFrank (Jim) James SensenbrennerHouse fails to override Trump veto on border wall The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Hillicon Valley: US threatens to hold intel from Germany over Huawei | GOP senator targets FTC over privacy | Bipartisan bill would beef up 'internet of things' security | Privacy groups seize on suspended NSA program | Tesla makes U-turn MORE (R-Wis.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGraham says Bolton briefed him on Iran, tells Trump to 'stand firm' Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible MORE (D-Vt.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeFix the climate with smaller families Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran MORE (R-Utah) said in a joint statement the day after the House overwhelmingly passed the USA Freedom Act.

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“The USA Freedom Act is a carefully crafted compromise that has the support of the intelligence community, technology industry and privacy groups,” they added. “For this reason, we will not agree to any extension of the NSA’s bulk collection program, which has already been ruled unlawful by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.”

That sentiment was echoed by Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Crowley, Daschle named to international cannabis board Clash with Trump marks latest break with GOP leaders for Justin Amash MORE (R-Ohio) during his weekly press conference on Thursday.

“The House has acted to make sure that the administration has the tools to keep Americans safe,” he told reporters. “It’s time for the Senate to act.”

The firm stance throws a wrench at one possible course of action in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — McConnell, Kaine offer bill to raise tobacco buying age to 21 | Measles outbreak spreads to 24 states | Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad blitz to protect Dems MORE (R-Ky.) has found himself in a bind by refusing to take up the House bill. The USA Freedom Act would weaken U.S. security and take the country back to the days before Sept. 11, 2001, he has said.

Instead, he is pushing for a “clean” bill reauthorizing without changes expiring portions of the Patriot Act, including the measure that the NSA used to authorize its phone records collection. Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals declared that the law does not allow the NSA to collect millions of Americans’ phone records, but it declined to shut the program down.

In lieu of a clear path forward in the Senate, some watchers have speculated that lawmakers might have to settle on a short-term bill, if only to extend the deadline for another few weeks.

Thursday’s statements make clear that won’t fly in the House.