WASHINGTON, D.C. — This afternoon, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered a series of proposals on the floor of the Senate to allow votes on a number of bi-partisan amendments to the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act, H.R. 6172. Each request was promptly objected to and blocked by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Jason Pye, FreedomWorks’ Vice President of Legislative Affairs, commented:
“Sen. Lee made an amazing, impassioned case for defending Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against intrusive government surveillance authorities that have often been abused. All he asked for was the ability to have an actual debate to amend a bill that falls woefully short of upholding those rights.
“In contrast, not only did Sen. Burr block Sen. Lee’s every attempt to secure votes on common-sense, bi-partisan amendments to the FISA reauthorization, he willfully mischaracterized Lee’s own positions and falsely accused him of holding the bill ‘hostage’.
“Sen. Burr further made the dangerous claim that if the expiring provisions of FISA sunset this weekend as scheduled, the executive branch would be able to continue their surveillance activities unabated. This raises serious new questions about how these laws are being interpreted that lawmakers must follow-up on as soon as possible.”