Amash NSA Push Falls Just Short After Spirited Debate
Updated 8:17 p.m. | The White House and Republican and Democratic leadership marshaled their forces Wednesday to narrowly defeat an attempt by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to defund the National Security Agency’s blanket collection of telephone records, but not before a heated floor debate pitting civil liberties against national security.
Amash faced extraordinary odds: leadership on both sides of the aisle registered opposition to the amendment; former attorneys general and executive branch officials penned a letter opposing the measure; outside groups such as the Heritage Foundation came out against it; newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, wrote op-eds rebuffing it; and the White Houseissued a rare statement of opposition against a House amendment.
The House killed the proposal, 205-217.
But the vote was much closer than the NSA, the White House or leadership wanted. The Amash amendment got 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats to go on record against the NSA surveillance program. A majority of Democrats effectively repudiated President Barack Obama’s handling of the program exposed by leaker Edward Snowden.
Snowden, of course, had called for just such a public debate and votes on the program when he revealed himself as the NSA leaker.
Read More on Roll Call: Amash NSA Push Falls Just Short After Spirited Debate