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Senate debates Patriot Act as expiration of surveillance provisions looms

Senate debates Patriot Act as expiration of surveillance provisions looms
The US Senate is holding a rare Sunday session to try and prevent the expiration of several controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, which allows wide-scale spying on Americans. The Obama administration claims it is crucial to US national security.
  • 01 June 2015

    02:26 GMT

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement: "The Senate took an important - if late - step forward tonight. We call on the Senate to ensure this irresponsible lapse in authorities is as short-lived as possible. On a matter as critical as our national security, individual senators must put aside their partisan motivations and act swiftly."

  • 01:47 GMT

    The Senate is to continue its work at noon on Monday, when it is expected to debate USA Freedom Act.

  • 01:46 GMT

    Senate adopts motion to proceed to USA Freedom Act. It is now considering House bill.

    — Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 1, 2015
  • 01:46 GMT

    Senate adopts motion to proceed to USA Freedom Act. It is now considering House bill.

    — Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 1, 2015
  • 01:43 GMT

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is now on the Senate floor, making a series of motions unopposed.

    Debate on HR 2048 will take place Monday afternoon.

    And with that, the Senate is now adjourned.

  • 01:28 GMT

    The overwhelming majority of callers into C-SPAN supported Paul's struggle against illegal surveillance. The channel is now re-airing the discussion by Dan Coats (R-Indiana) and John McCain (R-Arizona), both advocates of the failed initiative to re-authorize Section 215.

    Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is reporting that the Senate will vote on the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday.

    Section 215 of the Patriot Act is about to expire—for a little while. Senate will likely pass USA Freedom this week. https://t.co/XjI5BvjrHT

    — EFF (@EFF) June 1, 2015
  • 01:00 GMT

    Controversial provisions of the Patriot Act authorizing three government surveillance programs expired on Sunday evening, after the Senate rejected an extension and voted to consider the USA Freedom Act at a later date.

  • 00:26 GMT

    Wyden and Heinrich have yielded the floor, but now it appears the Senate does not have a quorum anymore.

  • 00:18 GMT

    The NSA said its teams would be on "hot standby" from 4 pm to 8 pm today, in case the Senate re-authorized continued surveillance. If they have in fact begun shutting down the metadata collection, as of 8 pm local time (midnight GMT), that shutdown has become irreversible.

    Even if the Senate passes USA Freedom Act tonight, the NSA will still have to restart the computers, which will take time. Senators Wyden and Heinrich are still speaking, too.

    Roll Call reporter Niels Lesniewski says no more votes are expected tonight.

    No further roll call votes expected tonight in the Senate, folks.

    — Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) June 1, 2015
  • 00:11 GMT

    This is beginning to look a lot like the May 20 filibuster, with Wyden and Heinrich reprising their roles.

    #nsa@MartinHeinrich tells @RonWyden despite what you heard on Sunday shows bulk collection hasn't stopped any terrorist attack #PatriotAct

    — Steve Rhodes (@tigerbeat) June 1, 2015

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