House Votes to Let NSA Spying Continue

by Ryan Hauck | July 25, 2013 10:36 am

An amendment that would have limited the National Security Agency’s power to collect the electronic records of American citizens failed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 217-205, Reuters reports[1].

The amendment, which Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) proposed adding to the defense appropriations bill, received both bipartisan support and opposition. 111 Democrats and 94 Republicans voted for the amendment, while 83 Democrats and 134 Republicans voted against it.

Cosponsoring the amendment were Amash’s Republican colleagues Thomas Massey (Ky.) and Mick Mulvaney (S.C.) and Democrats John Conyers (Mich.) and Jared Polis (Colo.).

While amendments to spending bills can’t technically mandate changes in policy, Amash’s amendment would have defunded the program. After that amendment failed, an alternative NSA-directed amendment was drafted by Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) and bought to the floor by Intelligence Committee member Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) with the support of House leadership, according to Politico[2].

The latter amendment passed by an overwhelming margin of 409-12. But supporters of Amash’s amendment contend that the successful amendment merely maintains the status quo.

Amash tweeted a pledge to “fight on”[3] and noted the close nature of the vote, saying “If just 7 Reps had switched their votes, we would have succeeded.”

The defense appropriations bill itself passed with a vote of 315-109, and allocated nearly $600 billion to the Pentagon for the 2014 fiscal year.

Endnotes:
  1. Reuters reports: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/25/us-usa-defense-spying-idUSBRE96N16I20130725
  2. according to Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/nsa-amendment-fails-94721.html
  3. tweeted a pledge to “fight on”: https://twitter.com/repjustinamash/status/360182673089626113

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