The Senate bill to reign in the NSA, end metadata collection, and provide more oversight to the agency in the wake of Edward Snowden came up for a vote yesterday, and Republicans were able to kill the bill with the filibuster. That shouldn't surprise you, as 41 Republicans (and Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida)voted to filibuster the bill that Democrats (and Ted Cruz!) voted for.
But what's this? Rand Paul voted against the NSA bill.
Rand Paul, a leader of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, helped kill a bill meant to rein in the National Security Agency. Huh?
The USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), received 58 votes on Tuesday night -- two short of cloture, the magic number in the Senate that allows a bill to proceed to an actual roll call.
The 40 Republicans and one Democrat who voted against cloture mostly did so because they thought the bill went too far. Paul also voted against NSA reform -- because, he said, it didn't go far enough.
Paul said he voted against the bill because it would have extended the Patriot Act provision that allows the NSA to search Americans’ phone records. He has consistently opposed the Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Leahy’s bill extended the provision’s expiration to June 2017 -- as a compromise, in order to change the law to stop the NSA from holding onto phone records. Under Leahy’s bill, that duty would have been handed off to phone companies. The companies' records could only have been searched with a surveillance court's order.
While Paul said he “felt bad” that the bill failed, because it “probably needed my vote," he also claimed the country was "one step closer to restoring civil liberties," because the Patriot Act provision's expiration date will not be extended.
But killing the bill does allow metadata collection on Americans to continue, and Rand Paul I guess is okay with that. Turns out the enemy of the perfect we were warned about was Rand Paul, Typical Republican, who voted along with 41 of his Typical Republican buddies, to allow the NSA abuses to continue.
What say you now, Rand Paul civil liberties guys?