The Washington Post reports: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) vowed that he would force the Patriot Act to expire Sunday when the Senate reconvenes after not taking action last week to extend or replace a controversial surveillance program.
“Tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement, which was first reported by Politico.
The Senate will convene a rare Sunday session after it rejected a compromise bill on bulk surveillance by the National Security Agency last week. The bill would prohibit the government from engaging in the mass collection of phone records, but would leave those records in the hands of private telephone companies, which would keep them for 18 months. The Sunday session will take place hours before the Patriot Act expires.
Paul said Saturday that he would disrupt efforts to extend the Patriot Act or green light the compromise bill, known as the USA Freedom Act.
“I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty,” Paul said in the statement. “Sometimes when the problem is big enough, you just have to start over.”
Paul plans to prevent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from expediting debate on the USA Freedom Act. Even if a vast majority of senators agree to extend some version of the Patriot Act, Senate rules would allow Paul to force about five days of debate over the issue, which would lead to a temporary halt to some techniques used by the nation’s spy agencies. [Continue reading…]