“Live to Fight Another Day”: PPSA Hails Senate Agreement to Extend Reauthorization of FISA Authorities and Allow Amendments to House Bill
Gene Schaerr, general counsel of the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability, issued this statement in reaction to this evening’s vote by the U.S. Senate to extend reauthorization of three Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities by 77 days, and to allow debate and votes on at least three amendments to the House-passed reauthorization bill.
“Last week, the Senate was presented with a take-it-or-leave-it proposal – either accept a House bill that had not been approved by a committee or subjected to markup, without debate or amendments – or allow the Section 215 business records provision, the lone wolf, and roving wiretap authorities, to expire.
“The civil liberties community is grateful to Sen. Mike Lee for calling this bluff and for highlighting the unfairness with which this bill has been pushed forward. We thank his Senate allies – Sens. Daines, Paul, Wyden and Leahy – for standing firm. We also thank Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for allowing this compromise to move forward.
“This is a tactical victory that allows champions of reform to live to fight another day. But it will only be a true victory if the civil liberties community and reform-minded senators act in a focused and deliberate way to debate and pass strong amendments. These amendments will only improve a House bill that already has some commendable reforms, including a modest expansion of the FISA court’s amicus program and ending authority for the dysfunctional Call Detail Records program.
“Let us all work together to make the most of these 77 days.”