It’s no secret that Congress has grown more divisive over the past decade, so it’s gratifying—even nostalgic—for me to see the USA FREEDOM Act, which I authored, pass through the House Judiciary Committee unanimously by a vote of 32-0. The House Intelligence Committee followed suit and approved my bill by voice vote the following day.

I remember the Judiciary Committee similarly coming together after the September 11 attacks, passing the USA PATRIOT Act with unanimous, bipartisan support.  Our actions in 2001 made the country safer, while also protecting the cherished civil liberties that distinguish us from our enemies. Over time, however, the government misapplied the law we passed.
 
After revelations of NSA overreach surfaced last summer, I knew Congress had to act to protect the civil liberties of innocent Americans. As a result, in October of last year, I introduced the USA FREEDOM Act with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy. Since the bill’s introduction, I have worked with members of Congress in both chambers from across the political spectrum and incorporated reform ideas from privacy groups, legal experts, tech companies, allied governments and the American people.


The amended Freedom Act makes it crystal clear that Congress does not endorse bulk collection and ensures Americans’ civil liberties are protected, while maintaining the necessary tools to protect our national security. While there have been many speed bumps along the way, the path forward is clear. I eagerly await looking over the President’s shoulder as he signs the USA FREEDOM Act into law.