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Senate Curbs NSA Surveillance Powers

Bill goes to Obama after amendments to water it down fail
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2015 3:40 PM CDT
Senate Curbs NSA Surveillance Powers
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a Senate policy luncheon June 2.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – Congress has sent legislation to the president remaking a disputed post-9/11 surveillance program two days after letting it temporarily expire. The vote in the Senate today was 67-32. The House already has passed the bill, and President Obama plans to sign it. The legislation will phase out, over six months, the once-secret National Security Agency bulk phone records collection program made public by agency contractor Edward Snowden. The New York Times calls it "a remarkable reversal of national security policy."

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It will be replaced by a program that keeps the records with phone companies but allows the government to search them with a warrant. Senate Republican leaders opposed the House bill but were forced to accept it unchanged after senators rejected last-ditch attempts to amend it. The Hill sees the result as a major rebuke to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks the legislation strips the NSA of too much power. The website also notes that passage comes almost exactly two years to the day that Snowden revealed the NSA program. (Read more Senate stories.)

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