'16 hopefuls rush to weigh in on NSA ruling

'16 hopefuls rush to weigh in on NSA ruling
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Candidates running for president in 2016 released divided statements following an appeals court ruling that found the National Security Agency's mass collection of U.S. phone records is illegal. 

The reaction Thursday fell into three camps: those who called for Congress to pass a reform bill, those who called for the Supreme Court to finish the job, and those who remain supportive of the program.

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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (R-Ky.), who has filed his own lawsuit over the program, said he was "pleased" with the ruling and called on the "Supreme Court to strike down the NSA's illegal spying program." 

"To celebrate today's ruling, we've lowered the cost of the NSA spy blocker in our campaign store," Paul tweeted, referencing the simple device that covers up a computer's webcam when not in use.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump takes aim at media after 'hereby' ordering US businesses out of China Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Taylor Swift says Trump is 'gaslighting the American public' MORE did not speak about the decision directly but said Congress should pass the USA Freedom Act, a reform bill that would effectively end the program, by requiring that phone records be stored with telephone companies. 

She said on Twitter that it would be "a good step forward in ongoing efforts to protect our security & civil liberties."

On Thursday morning, The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the surveillance program "exceeds the scope" of what Congress authorized, arguing the government's interpretation represented a huge shift in the U.S. approach to fighting terrorism. 

Three of the four senators who are running for president released laudatory statements. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (R-Fla.) continued to support the spy program and called for its reauthorization. 

"The solution is not to get rid of a program at a time when we know that the risk of homegrown violent extremism is the highest it's ever been," Rubio said on the Senate floor. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? GOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (R-Texas) said the ruling confirmed what the public already knew. He also called for the Senate to pass the reform bill.  

"The USA FREEDOM Act ends the NSA’s unfettered data collection program once and for all, while at the same time preserving the government's ability to obtain information to track down terrorists when it has sufficient justification and support for doing so," Cruz said in a statement. 

The three GOP candidates in the Senate have been divided on the issue since last year. Paul has previously opposed the Senate's surveillance reform bill because it would reauthorize parts of the Patriot Act. Rubio has opposed the bill for different reasons, saying the program is needed to fight terrorism. 

As Congress approaches the June 1 deadline to reauthorize portions of the Patriot Act, the House is slated to take up reform next week. It is unclear how the Senate will proceed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (R-Ky.) has introduced a clean reauthorization bill, but others have called for a vote on broader reform. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE (I-Vt.), who is mounting a long-shot bid against Clinton, said the government can protect the public without all-encompassing surveillance powers.

“We can do that without living in an Orwellian world where the government and private corporations know every telephone call that we make, every website we visit, every place we go," he said. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a likely GOP candidate, did not immediately offer a statement. But he has supported the program in the past.