The U.S. Senate rejected a bill on Saturday that would have severely cut down on phone data collection by the NSA. The House bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, would change the Patriot Act to block bulk collection of phone data. It passed 338 to 88 in House, but fell short at 57 (of 60 needed) to 42 in Senate.
The House passed the USA Freedom Act in May 2014, almost a year after Edward Snowden uncovered NSA phone surveillance. The Patriot Act, created to strengthen security controls after 9/11, expires June 1. These two conditions have placed great strain on the debate about national security.
In response to the disagreement between House and Senate, Sen. Rand Paul, said, “This is a debate about whether or not a warrant with a single name of a single company can be used to collect all the records.”
The records collected by the NSA include only numbers called and times, not content.
Senate will try again on May 31, but the House is in recess until June 1. If the bill passes, the government will be taken out of the collection process. However, it will still have access to the collected information.