The Patriot Act continues to be a hugely controversial piece of legislation but the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he continues to stand by it.
Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he intends to continue to defended his support for a measure in the USA Patriot Act that is responsible for the controversial National Security Agency programme which allows the agency to collect phone data from the phone of Americans.
During a speech given at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, Mitch McConnell called the measure “an important tool to prevent the next terrorist attack,” according to Reuters and added that he pledged to continue fighting for it against recent challenges.
The Patriot Act’s counter-terrorism measure, Section 215, is set to expire on June 1, and McConnell is seeking to extend it through 2020, according to a report by Reuters.
The Patriot Act continues to be at the centre of a huge amount of debate and controversy within government and on a wider level and only this month the federal appeals court ruled that Section 215 does not allow the NSA to collect Americans’ phone data in bulk, although this is what has been happening.
In a bid to change the laws the USA Freedom Act, is being brought forward as a new way to tackle the issue of national security while still protecting the privacy of individuals in the country.
The bill would see the access of the NSA to phone records being scaled back considerably and it is predicted that the bill will be passed through the House and on to the head of the Senate which is where it will come up against McConnell.
“The nation is better off with an extension of the Patriot Act than not, but we’ll see where the votes go,” McConnell said, sticking to his guns about the issue.
In his talk and in response to questions from the stage by a New York Times reporter, the Kentucky congressman emphasised that his goal as majority leader is to prioritise bipartisanship and get bills passed according to Reuters.
“Look for the things you agree on and do them,” he said. “That’s the kind of Senate we need to have again.”
While McConnell is opposed to this new bill, progress has been made recently in moving bills through government despite a Democrat being in the White House while both houses ae run by Republicans and it is hoped that this cooperation can continue into the future until the end of the term to prevent any further hold ups in government as has happened in the past.