Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act in October, 2013. Last May, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence approved an amended version of the legislation unanimously. The House of Representatives then passed a further amended bill by a vote of 303-121.
In July, Chairman Leahy introduced a revised USA FREEDOM Act that reclaimed lost provisions from the original bill and strengthened privacy protections. It is endorsed by the Intelligence Community, the Administration and numerous technology companies and privacy groups.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tonight filed for cloture on the measure. A vote is possible as early as next week.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Although far too many good bills continue to collect dust on Senator Reid’s desk, I am pleased he has finally decided to move the USA FREEDOM Act. There is no excuse not to pass this fundamental piece of legislation during the lame duck. Once the Senate acts, I encourage my colleagues in the House and the President to be prepared to promptly enact it into law. Senator Leahy and I introduced the USA FREEDOM Act over a year ago. It is past time for Washington to ensure Americans’ civil liberties are protected while preserving important intelligence gathering authorities that are vital to our national security.”