Published by The Lawfare Institute
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WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to end the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records, exerting enormous pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who insists that existing dragnet sweeps continue in defiance of many of those in his Republican Party.
Under the bipartisan bill, which passed 338 to 88, the Patriot Act would be changed to prohibit bulk collection by the National Security Agency of metadata charting telephone calls made by Americans. In addition, the legislation would bar permitting bulk collection of records using other tools like so-called national security letters, which are a kind of administrative subpoena.
The near unanimity in the House is not reflected in the Senate, where a bipartisan group that backs the House bill faces opposition from Mr. McConnell and a small but powerful group of defense hawks who want no change, and from another faction led by Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, that is pressing for even greater restrictions of data collection.