White House asks Congress to pass NSA reform legislation

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The White House endorsed a bill that would reform the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk data collection program. Press secretary Josh Earnest said Congress should pass the USA Freedom Act, which has support from Democrats and Republicans in both chambers. “POTUS believes we must be vigilant on terror threat; also said surveillance needed reform and he meant it,” Earnest wrote. President Barack Obama’s backing of the legislation increases the possibility of a showdown with Republican leaders as Congress faces a June 1 deadline to renew parts of the Patriot Act that are set to expire. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and GOP security hawks oppose the USA Freedom Act, saying the surveillance programs are critical for identifying national security threats. At the same time, Majority Leader McConnell is pushing for a “clean” extension of the Patriot Act that would keep intact Section 215, which authorizes the bulk data collection program. The White House has stopped short of threatening a veto of Majority Leader McConnell’s bill, but called for changes that would repeal Section 215.


White House asks Congress to pass NSA reform legislation