The Los Angeles Times is telling lawmakers in the Senate to get on board with the USA Freedom Act.
The newspaper’s editorial board is pushing lawmakers to “approve the bill and send it to the House before the 113th Congress passes into history," it wrote in an editorial published late on Thursday.
The bill from Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyFormer US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sen. Kaine, drivers stranded in I-95 backup Senate delays vote as DC hit by snowstorm MORE (D-Vt.) would end the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of phone records in the U.S., among other changes.
While it has received support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, privacy advocates and the Obama administration, the bill is coming under attack from “specious arguments form defenders of the status quo,” the newspaper wrote.
It rejected the notion that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should derail the prospects for reform, as some defenders of the spy agency have argued.
“To the extent that searches of metadata do enhance U.S. intelligence, they can still be conducted under the Leahy bill — but with privacy safeguards written into the law,” the editorial board wrote.
A procedural vote in the Senate is primed for next week, after months of heated negotiations over the language of the bill and nearly a year and a half after former contractor Edward Snowden first revealed details of the program.
The path forward is all but certain, given criticism from lawmakers such as Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act Domestic travel vaccine mandate back in spotlight Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (D-Calif.) and Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissFormer Georgia Sen. Max Cleland dies at 79 Effective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Live coverage: Georgia Senate runoffs MORE (R-Ga.), as well as skepticism from civil libertarians who may want to strengthen it.