RLC Condemns McConnell's Attempt to Extend Patriot Act Phone Surveillance
WASHINGTON, DC - The Republican Liberty Caucus has urged Senate Republicans to oppose a bill introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell Tuesday night to extend through 2020 Section 215 of the Patriot Act which governs the NSA’s authority to surveil Americans’ phone records. The current bill governing NSA phone record surveillance expires on June 1st.
“Americans were stunned when Edward Snowden came forward and showed the extent to which the United States government is spying on its own citizenry,” said RLC National Chair Matt Nye of Florida. “The NSA surveillance program as it currently exists is something right out of the book ‘1984’; it is an abomination, a clear violation of the fourth amendment, and all Americans should be deeply troubled by its very existence.”
Congress attempted to reign in the NSA’s spying powers last year with the introduction of the USA Freedom Act sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The House passed a gutted version of the bill, but the Senate companion, which was opposed by McConnell, stalled.
“The Republican Party is supposed to be the party of less government, lower taxes and more freedom,” Nye said. “Yet once again we have Republicans in leadership - who are completely out of touch with the American people that put them in office - advocating for the exact opposite of those principles.”
McConnell and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), the bill’s co-sponsor, invoked a special rule to bring the bill to the floor without the usual committee vetting process. “You have to marvel at how the Republican controlled Senate can’t use the same rules the Democrats used to pass Obama Care, to repeal Obamacare, but it can pull out all the stops to avoid having a debate in committee when it comes to spying on the American people.” Nye said. “McConnell is an embarrassment to Republicans, and an enemy of the Constitution of the United States and the principles upon which this country was founded.”
Many pundits and Republican leaders were surprised by the lack of Republican voter turnout in 2012, but Nye says it’s no mystery to him.
“In a presidential election where the signature issue was Obamacare, the Republicans put up the only candidate that had socialized medicine in his home state,” Nye said. “Rather than vote for ‘socialist-lite’, Republican voters simply stayed home.”
In spite of being given control of the Senate in 2014, Nye says the Republicans still didn’t get the message. “The Republicans were given the Senate because the American people clearly wanted to put an end to the Obama agenda,” Nye said. “Yet time and again the Republicans behave just like those they were elected to stop, and at some point the voters who have been repeatedly betrayed will simply cease to turn out for them.”
When the American people finally ask the question, “With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?,” the Republican Party is finished, Nye said.