Maine senator: Paul 'overdoing' it with NSA opposition

Maine senator: Paul 'overdoing' it with NSA opposition
© Francis Rivera

Sen. Angus KingAngus KingSenate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE (I-Maine) on Monday said his colleague Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) is "overdoing it" in his opposition to the Patriot Act and is using the Senate floor to bolster his presidential campaign.

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"I think he's overdoing it, but there is a larger issue here as we lead into this coming year," King said Monday on CNN's "New Day."

"We've got half the U.S. Senate, it seems, running for president, and we are going to have some important deadlines coming up — debt ceiling, budget bills, appropriation bills. And if somebody that's running for president can essentially take over the floor of the U.S. Senate and make this kind of publicity deal, it's going to really impede our ability to get the people's work done."

Paul stalled a compromise vote during a special Sunday evening session meant to ensure that the controversial National Security Agency surveillance programs would not lapse. That move delayed a final vote on the compromise, the USA Freedom Act, until possibly Tuesday. It's expected to pass the Senate then and be signed into law by President Obama soon after.

Without renewals, three provisions from the Patriot Act expired, including one that the government used to authorize the bulk collection of telephone metadata.

In the midst of his presidential race, Paul shouldered the effort to force the expiration. He touted his efforts on the floor of the Senate, as well as through his campaign's social media channels.

“Are we going to so blithely give up our freedom? Are we going to so blindly go along and take it?” Paul asked during the Senate debate Sunday.

“I’m not going to take it anymore."