Americans were understandably appalled and upset when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the ways the agency has spied on American citizens. One of the biggest parts of that spying program included the bulk collection of phone call data. That kind of snooping could be a thing of the past if the USA Freedom Act passes. The Senate will begin looking at the legislation as soon as next week and could vote on it by Friday.
The bill would ban the NSA's controversial bulk collection of phone records while allowing targeted surveillance of suspected terrorists.
The House of Representatives already passed a different version of the bill. If the Senate passes its bill, the odds of getting it through the House are good.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who sponsored a different version of the bill passed by the House, believes the House would quickly take up and approve the Senate version of the bill if senators pass the legislation. The Obama administration has expressed support for the Senate bill, which has stronger privacy protections than the House version.
Many Americans have grown increasingly frustrated with Congress in the past few years because both parties can't seem to agree on much. The USA Freedom Act is one of the few measures that looks to have support on both sides of the aisle.
The measure is co-sponsored by a rare coalition that spans the political spectrum from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. It also has the support of a wide range of more than 40 groups from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Republican Liberty Caucus.
If it passes, the USA Freedom Act would end years of NSA phone surveillance. During that time, the NSA collected millions of phone records, including telephone numbers of people involved in the call, the date of the call and how long the call lasted.
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