The House of Representatives almost unanimously voted in favor a measure that would stop the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone data.
At a vote of 338-88, reps on both sides of the aisle were largely in favor of the USA Freedom Act. According to New York Times, the bipartisan bill would prohibit NSA’s ability to swipe information from phones at will. Not only would it stop them from using metadata to keep track of phone calls made by people in the United States, it would also keep intelligence agencies from using things like national security letters to get that information.
Reuters reports, though, the Freedom Act would allow them to access to the data in cases where someone is reasonably suspected of having ties to terrorism.
The overwhelming support could put the U.S. Senate under more pressure to pass this bill and set it up in place of the current program, which expires on June 1. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t looking to institute any changes; he, along with a number of other republican, have made it known that they would much rather extend the standing provisions that were approved as part of the Patriot Act after 9/11.
They will face some opposition as both Rand Paul–a republican who is running for president in 2016 election–and democrat Ron Wyden have stated that they would filibuster their push.
The Patriot Act caused a lot of people concern over their personal privacy, but many in government and the public backed it as a measure that was meant to protect the nation from future attacks. Supporters of The Freedom Act believe that the bill will satisfy both concerns.
“I think we have found an equilibrium on how to protect both security and privacy,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California of the House Intelligence Committee told the Times. “These issues are not going away. I think the fact that the public is becoming much more united on how we balance these dual imperatives has ripened in a very constructive way.”
Providing that the Senate approves the new bill, The White House said that President Obama would sign The Freedom Act into law once it makes it past Congress.