Leahy: Surveillance Bill Is About ‘Fundamental Relationship’ With Government (Video)
Posted at 2:33 p.m. on July 29
“This is a debate about Americans’ fundamental relationship with their government,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said on the Senate floor Tuesday about his new bill to limit surveillance. “About whether our government should have the power to create massive databases of information about its citizens or whether we are in control of our own government, not the other way around.”
The measure builds on legislation the House passed in May as well as the original bill he introduced with Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., last October, he said, adding that he still preferred that original measure, but that “we’re running short on time” in the current Congress.
“We could spend the next 20 years waiting to get 1,000 percent of everything we need,” he later said about more work needing to be done on the matter. “I’d like to get most of what we need and then work on the rest.”
He also said lawmakers would be “derelict in our duty” if they didn’t take up the chance to enact a bill that he saw as the “most significant” overhaul of government surveillance authority since lawmakers passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.
Here’s a summary of the bill as well as the bill itself.