The House has rejected a push to block the National Security Agency's bulk collection of ordinary Americans' phone records.
On a 205-217 vote, the House failed to pass the proposal, in the form of an amendment to the defense authorization bill by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).In a sign of growing concern over Congress's reaction to the revelations of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the White House had publicly announced its opposition to a House push to block agency data collection efforts, Huffington Post reports.
White House press secretary Jay Carney reacted curtly to the Amash propopsal, which would have curbed the NSA's vast program of collecting and storing phone records. Such collection is authorized by the 2001 Patriot Act.
"We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community's counterterrorism tools," Carney said in a statement. "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process."
Amash's amendment had attracted bipartisan supporters, including Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).
Amash faced opposition not just from the Obama White House, but House Republican leaders, who were essentially forced against their will to allow a vote on the amendment.
Today, Members of Congress will have to answer a simple Q: Do you oppose blanket, suspicionless collection of all Americans' phone records?- Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) July 24, 2013
When's the last time a president put out an emergency statement against an amendment? The Washington elites fear liberty. They fear you.- Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) July 24, 2013
Politix, and via POPVOX and Huffington Post.