Senate to Reconvene on Sunday in Last Ditch Effort to Save the Patriot Act
Both President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are desperate to see the Patriot Act partially extended in what is known as the Freedom Act. The bill already passed the House by a veto-proof majority. However, it has stalled in the Senate as members of both parties expressly want to see the Patriot Act sunset; the current set of statutes will expire as soon as the clock strikes midnight Monday morning, June 1. Ahead of complying with the expiration of the law, intelligence agencies have begun the orderly process of shutting down their surveillance programs.
Despite the hastily assembled special session, it is not clear if the Senate can pull off an 11th hour rescue of the act. This is because Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is prepared to filibuster any bill looking to extend the Patriot Act in any form. Opponents of the law understand that if it is allowed to expire, it will be almost impossible to reauthorize the law’s various surveillance programs in a separate bill. The intelligence community is touting the importance of the law in preserving the safety of Americans. By the same token, they are sounding the voice of warning should the law be allowed to expire, at least according to Stephen Murray CCMP Capital. President Obama points out on the NY Post
that aside from the NSA bulk meta data surveillance program, which the Freedom Act would end, most aspects of the Patriot Act do not threaten the privacy of Americans.