tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 18, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EST
the presiding officer: any senator wishing to vote or wishing to change a vote? if not, on this vote the yeas are 59, the nays are 41. the 60-vote threshold having not been achieved, the bill is not passed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary, leslie joyce abrams of georgia --. the presiding officer: the sergeant at arms will restore order. order in the gallery. [disruption in gallery]
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary, leslie joyce abrams of georgia to be united states district judge. mark howard cohen of georgia to be united states district judge. eleanor louise ross of georgia to be united states district judge. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally
divided prior to a vote on the abrams nomination. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i would yield my time to the two senators from georgia. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: madam president, i'll split that time with senator chambliss from georgia. the presiding officer:. the the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. senators please take your conversations out into the hallway. mr. isakson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: on behalf of the people gave --. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: madam president, the next three votes will be
three judges for the state of georgia. story chambliss, has done an outstanding job of leading our judiciary committee to negotiate with the president and white house on six nominations three of which we've approved, the final three are tonight. i'd like to heartily recommend to each member of the chamber a vote for leslie joyce abrams for the middle district of georgia, eleanor ross for the northern district of georgia and mark cohen for the district of georgia. i thank the obama administration and all those who worked with us to come up with a package of judges to fill the vacancies for the state of georgia and i yield to the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: i recommend to all of our colleagues to vote for all three of these judges. judge eleanor ross, judge mark cohen, and judge leslie abrams, or future judge in all three cases.
they're excellent candidates and i commend senator leahy for working very closely with us, to the president for being willing to sit down and discuss our judicial noms and particularly to white house counsel atly rosenbaumler. we would not be here if she did not work this package and put this agreement together. and i encourage all of my colleagues to vote in favor of all three of these judges. the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. mccaskill: i would like to announce to -- mr. mcconnell: i'd like to say the keystone pipeline will be up in the next session of congress and congratulate senator hoeven for his good work. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on the abrams nomination. is there a sufficient second?
the presiding officer: any senator wishing to vote or to change a vote? if not, the ayes are 100, the nays are zero, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote on the cohen nomination. without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the cohen nomination. the clerk will call the yeas and nays -- no.
the presiding officer: is there any further debate? hearing none, all knows in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate on the -- prior to a vote on the ross nomination. who yields time?
all time -- without objection, all time has been yielded back. the question occurs on the nomination. hearing no further debate, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to the consideration of the following nominations: which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, department of state, lesley ann
bassett of california to be ambassador of the united states of america to the republic of paraguay. marcia stevens bloomburnicat to be ambassador of the united states of america to the people's republic of bangladesh. james peter zumwalt to be ambassador of the united states of america to the republic of senegal and to serve concurrently as ambassador of the united states of america to the republic of guinea versalle. >> craig b. allen of virginia to be ambassador of the united states of america to brunei. william b. roebuck of north carolina to be ambassador of the united states of america to the kingdom of bay rain. -- bahrain. mr. reid: madam president, i yield back all time on these nominations. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the
bassett nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the question occurs on the baroncat nomination. those in favor say aye. those opposed, say nay. the ayes a p to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the question now ow curse on the zumwalt nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it it. the nomination is confidence. the question now owe cousin the cowen nomination. all knows favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it.
the a ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. the question now occurs on the roebuck nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 2685, which the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 2685, a bill to reform the authorities of the federal government and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: reid: could we have o? the presiding officer: order, please. mr. reid: madam president, there's -- under the rule that's been initiated here in the senate and confirmed, we have 30 minutes of debate on this matter, and i've been told that
it won't take that full 30 minutes, but i note the absence of a quorum. madam president, the time would be equally divided. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 30 minutes equally divided between the leaders or their designees. who yields time? mr. reid: madam president, i ask that the quorum call be -- we go into a quorum call with the time equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator in vermont. mr. leahy: i ask consent the call -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. order in the chamber. without objection. mr. leahy: ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i'd ask for order. we still don't have order in the chamber. the presiding officer: order in the senate, please. senators, please take your conversations outside. for the information of the senate, with respect to the nominations just confirmed, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume its legislative
session. mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, we've confirmed three judges from georgia. i compliment the two senators from georgia for their hard wo work, both -- both-- both-- both with the judiciary committee and with the white house. in that i am sorry they had to wait so long. on this side of the aisle, we cleared every one of those for a voice vote months ago. i'm sorry that your side wanted to delay it, but i was glad to see the 100-0 vote and i compliment the two senators from georgia for sticking with their nominees. madam president, i'd like to yield to the distinguished senator from utah, senator lee, for four minutes.
mr. lee: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: madam president, in 2013, the country learned that the government, specifically the n.s.a., had been collecting and storing enormous amounts of information about american citizens and that the data collection
at issue was not limited to those who were actually suspected of terrorist activity, or even necessarily to those who were connected to those suspended of engaging in terrorist activity. many were, understandably, very concerned about how much and what kind of data was being collected and whether or not this information could be or had been abused by government officials. to date, proponents of the metadata program claim that it cannot be used to identify ordinary american citizens. but earlier this year
researchers at stanford university proved that the very time of meta data collected under section 215 of the patriot act could be used to uncover a lot of information, including information about a persons's politics, about what kind of medication they might be taking, about where they
go to church, and so on and so forth. this u.s.a. freedom act is a bipartisan piece of legislation that would end bulk data collection of the metadata currently gathered by n.s.a. and it would help address the problem of the american government spying on its own citizens without cause. it also would improve transparency for the data that n.s.a. does collect. it has the support of leaders in our intelligence community, the department of justice, civil liberties groups, the national rifle association, and a whole bunch of tech companies. opponents say it will impair our
national security. they say this bill will keep our intelligence community from protecting us. but what opponents of this bill fail fully to appreciate is that most americans are deeply, deeply concerned about the collection of their own personal information. and this bill is
an opportunity to strike a reasonable commonsense balance between protecting americans' privacy and, at the same time, protecting our national security. well, i believe that there are honest, decent people working in our intelligence community, and well, i think this is the norm, the overwhelming norm. i think it's always important to heed a warning given to us. james madison wrote "if men were angels, no government would be necessary. if angels were to govern, neither extern ole nor internal controls on government would be necessary. in frame ago government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty
lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itself." congress should address this issue now. the provision of the patriot act authorizing this kind of data collection expires just after memorial day this coming year, and it's important to adopt a compromise well ahead of this deadline that all
interested parties can accept. thank you, madam president. a senator: mr. president? mr. leahy: mr. president, thank the distinguished senator from utah. he's worked so hard on this. you know, it's been more than a year since americans first learned the government had been secretly screepg up the -- sweeping up the telephone records of innocent americans, whether there was any connection to terrorism or criminal activity. i introduced the original u.s.a. freedom act last october with republican congressman jim sensenbrenner.
the judiciary committee held six hearings, public hearings, to address these issues. we learned that the bulk phone records had not, as previously authorized, thwarted 54 terrorist plots or even dozens or even a few. in fact, we learned through our public hearings, after all the talk about we needed this because it thwarted 54 terrorist acts, it may have possibly helped on one. now, that is an important fact for those who now argue that the n.s.a.'s bulk phone records program is somehow essential to our fight against isil. it did nothing
to stop isil from starting in the first place. but our bill protects americans, enhances privacy protections, it ends indiscriminate data collection, but it keeps the tools our intelligence community needs to protect our nation.
that's important to remember, and that's why our intelligence community strongly supports this bill. i worked in law enforcement. i am a native of vermont where the right of privacy is quher ieshed. i
know we shall have both liberty and security. the u.s.a. freedom act provides for commonsense re-for the purposes to government solves. it promotes greater accountability and transparency in the government's surveillance programs and improves thefy is a courts. it is a carefully crafted bill. it builds on what the house of representatives did. it has the support of the director of national intelligence, the attorney general, the director of n.s.a., american technology companies, the privacy and civil liberty groups across the political spectrum ranging from the n.r.a. to the aclu an to protect freed. lawmakers from the right to the left support this bill. they know it's a reasonable and
responsible compromise. no
reason why we shouldn't continue on it. now, there are some members who want votes on parts of it, and that's fine. let's have the votes. let's not block this bill and say, well, we wanted something better. that means you don't vote "yes," you don't vote "no," you vote "maybe." let's have some relevant votes and let's vote on them. don't let this get bogged down in procedural flimflam that the american public hates. have germane amendments. vote them up or down. and don't wait until next year on this. as both the aclu and the n.r.a. pointed out, every day the senate fails to vote on these reforms is a day in which law-abiding citizens have reason to fear that the constitutional protections so dear to the founders and so crucial to the
functioning of our free society no longer apply. echoing actually the words we just heard from the senator from utah. every day we fail to act is another day american businesses are harmed. one conservative think tank says the mistrust engenders by the n.s.a.'s programs could cost the u.s. technology company between $35 billion and $180 billion over the next three years. that's a staggering amount. so let's listen to the intelligence community. ask the director of national intelligence. h he'll tell you it's far better for our national security and for our fight against terrorism if we
pass this. so i thank those senators for their support. i thank the majority leader for bringing this to the floor. i thanks senators dean heller and dick durbin and al franken and richard blumenthal for his
help. and i ask unanimous consent that the statement of administration policy in support of this u.s.a. freedom act as well as other items in support be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president, i would yield three minutes to the senator from florida, senator rubio. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. god forbid we wake up tomorrow morning and wake up to
the news that a member of isil is in the united states and federal agents need to determine who this person is coordinating with. and one of the tools they use is a tool that allows them to see the people they've been calling and interacting with so we can disrupt that cell before they carry out a horrifying attack that could kill millions of peoplement today we are able to do that because of a program that -- that collects those records and keeps them not in the hands of anyone who's looking at them on a regular basis but keeps them readily available to the government so the government can access those records and disrupt that plot.
what this bill would do is take that apart. it would, in essence, ask the companies to keep those records in the hopes that they would but under this plan if this were to pass, if suddenly we were to go target these members of isil and find out who they are coordinating with, those records may not be there and that plot may, indeed, go forward. and that
would be a horrifying result. and here's why this doesn't make sense. first of all, we are rushing this to the floor of the senate in the lame-duck session on an issue that doesn't even expire until next year, on a bill that wasn't even listened to or heard in a committee and they cannot cite a single example of this program ever being abused. not one simple example of this specific program being abused by anybody intentionally. not one. so we are dealing with a theoretical threat. the second thing is, that even as we speak, law enforcement agencies investigating a common crime don't even need to go to a court to access these very same records. they could just issue an administrative subpoena and get ahold of them. so we are actually making it hard to her go after a terrorist
than it will be to go after a common criminal. and
this is happening at a time when homegrown violent extremism is the single fastest-growing threat to the united states. people here at home that have been radicalized even on the internet and people that have traveled to the middle east and been radicalized in the hopes of returning and carrying out attacks here. i would hope that this body would take more time to study an issue of this magnitude because this program was specifically designed to address what the intelligence gaps that existed after the 9/11 attacks. because i promise you, if god, forbid, any horrifying event like that were to happen, the first question we will be asked is, why didn't we know about it and why didn't we prevent it. and if this program is gutted, we will not be able potentially to know about it and we will not be able to prevent it. mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, of course this program does not gut it. it actually enhances it. secondly, if this was important to stop isil, isil never would
have started. the fact is, we had this program way beyond anything anybody's talking about today. it didn't -- it didn't slow up or eliminate one iota isil. that is -- that's a strawman that we shouldn't even have here. it has no affect on that. everybody who's read the intelligence knows that. i'd yield three minutes to the senator
from connecticut. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i want to begin by thanking our very esteemed colleague, the chairman of the judiciary committee, senator leahy, for his leadership on this issue and my colleagues whom he has named who have helped in drafting and crafting this very important piece of legislation and to my friends and colleagues across the aisle, like the senator from utah, who have supported and helped to make clear that this
bill advances the cause of
safeguarding our nation without in many way detracting from its essential operational intelligence capabilities. in fact, national intelligence director clapper has said -- and i'm quoting -- "the bill will retain the essential operational capabilities of the existing bulk telephone meta data program while eliminating bulk collection." this bill increases trust and confidence and credibility of our intelligence system. it advances that trust and confidence in the capability of government surveillance to do its job but at the same time protect our vital privacy interests. it advances the cause of constitutional liberty and the appearance and perception of
trust in that system. and it does so by making the foreign intelligence surveillance court look like and function like the courts that we are accustomed to seeing issue search warrants in the criminal process and protect essential liberties. it does it by strengthening, in fact, installing an adversarial process so that more than just the government's version of the facts and law are presented to the foreign intelligence surveillance court. it does it by providing for appellate review, just like we have in normal civilian courts. and it does it by increasing the transparency and accountability of the
fisa court system. our founders would have been astonished and appalled to learn that we permit warrants to be
issued by a secret court, operating in secret, issuing secret opinions, making secret law, much like the star chamber did. and that's why this reform is so profoundly and historically important, because we make the fisa court one that we can more aptly and abundantly trust, one that will have credibility and confidence. i support this bill. i thank my colleagues for showing that we can work together in a bipartisan way to safeguard the essential rights of americans at the same time that we protect and preserve our national security. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from
california. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much, mr. president. i'd like to speak to this bill and i'd like to say that this is one of the few times that my vice chairman, the distinguished senator from georgia, and i have
a disagreement. i very much support this 215 program. the intelligence committee i think in a year has had maybe 12 hearings on the subject. many people think, wow, we're using this program all the time. in fact, in year 2013, it was used 288 queries and those queries went -- 12 of them went for a probable cause warrant. in fact, you cannot collect content in a query. it is just the metadata. then the next problem has been, well, the government shouldn't hold the metadate aadata. and this essentially is the big change that this bill makes. we voted out of our committee by a vote of 12-3 a fisa reform act. however, that bill is not going to pass, in my judgment. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired.
mrs. feinstein: may i ask that my time be extended, please. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much. we -- i talked with the house and here's what i got. if we didn't pass the house bi bill, there were members that wanted to
end the whole program. i do not want to end the progr program. i'm prepared to make the compromise which is that the metadata will be kept by the telecoms. senator chambliss and i wrote a letter to the four big telecoms and we asked them if they would hold the data. the answer came back from two, "yes" and the answer came back from two "no." since that time, the situation has changed, not in writing but by personal testament from two of the companies that they will hold the data for at least two years for business reasons. now, here's the problem.
the mandate that was inherent in the 215 act is gone but the fact is that the telecoms have agreed to hold the date a. the data. the president himself has assured me of this. if we do not pass this bill, we will lose this program. senator
rubio sits on our committee. i listened to him with interest. i agree with him in what he has said about isil and others that will come after us if they can and the only protection we have is essentially to disrupt a plot before it becomes a reality in this country. and the program is not widely used, as the 288 queries in a given year would -- would indicate. additionally, in this bill -- and this should i think be of satisfaction to a number of people -- the fisa court would have to approve a query before
that query takes place rather than after the query. so i'm prepared to support the bill and i do so for very practical reasons, because without it, i believe we will not have a program. so this is hard for me because i have
a great committee and i've tried to be supportive of those things that come out of our committee. i've talked to senator leahy. i've said, the one big problem i have is the foreign intelligence surveillance court is upset with the language. he has said, we will change the blank wage. senator blumenthal has an amendment which i assume will pass which does change the language and the major objection of the court i believe is ended by this language. if that's the case and the telecoms agree to hold the data
and the data is not held by the government but is held by the telecoms, i believe that solves what is a very practical probl problem. so in any event, i've agreed to support it and i thank the chair, and
i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: mr. president, how much of the time on the other side has been used? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont has 30 seconds remaining. mr. chambliss: and how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: 6 1/2 minutes. mr. chambliss: i've only had one speaker and i had 15 minutes. did he use 7 1/2 minutes, 8 1/2? the presiding officer: the chair was instructed that the senator from california spoke on the senator from georgia's time. mr. chambliss: well, i would ask
unanimous consent that the time that the senator from california used be added to my time, plea please. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. leahy: mr. president? mr. president, reserving the right to object. i will not object. but i was going to yield the remainder of my time to the senator from texas, senator cr cruz. and i ask that he be allowed up to four minutes. mr. chambliss: i would object to that. he can have your 30 seconds. mr. leahy: then i will object to the request. i will not object to the request and i will yield the remainder of my time to the senator from texas. and i'm sorry the senator from georgia would not offer me the courtesy. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia, without objection. mr. chambliss: i would recognize the senator from maine for two minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president? thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we need reform of the n.s.a. programs but not in
this manner. let's remember why this intelligence tool was put into place. it was enacted in the wake of the worst terrorist attack in our country that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. and we have testimony from the former director of the f.b.i., from the former deputy director of the c.i.a. telling us that had this tool been in place, it is likely, most likely that the plot that killed nearly 3,000 people would have been uncovered. why would we weaken the ability of our intelligence community at a time when the threats against this country have never been
greater? and let me address to my colleagues the privacy issue that has been raised. an issue that all of us care about. this data, these data are far more safe, far more subject to privacy protections if they are held by the federal government where only 22 vetted and trained government employees have access to them, instead of nearly 150 telecommunications companies that employ thousands of workers, and the government is going to have to go to those companies and ask for the data. that greatly exposes the privacy of the individual americans, far more than the current system. so for both of those reasons i
urge my colleagues to oppose the distinguished senator from vermont's bill. it is a mistake, it would make us less safe, and we have expert testimony telling us that. thank you, mr. president. mr. chambliss: mr. president, i yield two minutes to the senator from indiana, senator coats. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president, i regret i just have two minutes. it's unfortunate something that has this consequence for americans is being debated in alimented time session here. we have two bills, one produced by the intelligence committee, written and supported by the chairman, a democrat california, and by the vice chairman, the republican from georgia. and it passed on a bipartisan measure with more than a 3-1 ratio. and here we are trying to go forward, allowing only one vote on one bill.
why do we have to rush this through in a lame-duck session when it such consequences? and when the director the agency that oversees us, when asked in a public session by me what are the ultimate consequences of this, his answer was, a compromise of our ability to detect terrorist attacks and the consequence will be americans will die. and when that happens and those of us who go every day into the intelligence committee to know what the threat is and it's greater than it's ever been, understand that eventually something will happen here and people will turn to us and say did you have every possible tool in place to stop try to stop this from happening and if you didn't, why didn't you? let's have another repeat of 9/11 where the commission comes to us and says get the tools that you need. it has been so mischaracterized in terms of what it does and doesn't do, even as i talk to my colleagues they don't have a full understanding of what it doesn't do. it has more oversight than any
other program in the federal government. we have enhanced it through our committee with hours and hours and hours of discussion and here we have something coming out of the judiciary committee that wasn't even taken up in the committee. just brought here to the floor. so i would urge my colleagues to think this through before we come to a conclusion that we're going to regret later and i thank the chairman -- the vice chairman for giving me this time. mr. chambliss: the --. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. the senator has 5 1/2 minutes left. mr. chambliss:
mr. president, in closing let me just say that there are any number of reasons why the substance of this bill is totally flawed. we live in a dangerous world today. we all know and understand that. and while this bill, the provisions in this bill wouldn't have prohibited isil from being formed, it didn't, but what it does do, the provisions in the
underlying fisa bill gives our intelligence community all the tools they need to make sure that when isil recruits individuals to go to syria to fight, if it's americans there trying to recruit, we can find out about that and we have under surveillance today any number of individuals who we think have been committed to jihad who live in america.
secondly, there's another part of their recruiting that is even more dangerous than asking young men and women to come to syria to fight for isil. they want people to go into the parliament in canada and start killing people. they want people to walk the streets of new york and pull out a gun or a hatchet or whatever it may be and start killing people. if we eliminate this program, and that's basically what the leahy amendment does, then we're going to take a tool away from our intelligencecommittee s not going to allow them to be able to interrupt and disrupt
those types of terrorist attacks. now, with
respect to our privacy, folks, and gosh, we need to be really protective of privacy issues in this country. we live under a constitution that has survived nor in excess of 200 years, it has lots of privacy protections in it and all of us want to see that happen. let me just tell you what's going to happen if this amendment comes to the floor and should happen to pass. today. the metadata that is collected by the n.s.a. can be accessed by 22 individuals. 22. that means there's an opportunity for leaks to occur or for individual privacy rights to be breached by 22 people. if this amendment ever became law, all of a sudden all of the telecoms are going to be holding this metadata information as opposed to the n.s.a. holding it. all of those telecoms have
thousands of employees, lots of whom have access -- will have access to this metadata. so instead of having the potential for 22 people to breach the privacy rights of american citizens, all of a sudden you're going to have thousands of opportunities for the privacy
rights of americans to be breached. and let me just close by saying that this program has been criticized an awful lot simply because of the leaks that mr. snowden made because of his theft of government property. but the fact is there cannot be one single case pointed to by anybody who can show that as a result of collection of metadata under 215 any american has had their privacy rights breached. it simply has not happened, it will not happen if we keep this program in place. do we need to modify it?
you bet. and senator feinstein and i did a good job of that considering 10 amendments within our committee, voting on all 10 of them, some of them passed, some of them didn't, and the bill came out of our committee on a bipartisan vote -- bipartisan vote. this amendment of mr. leahy has not even gone to the judiciary committee to give the members of the judiciary committee the opportunity to review it, to file amendments on it, to debate it in committee, and vote on it. that's not the way this institution has ever worked and it's not the way it should work here in a lame-duck session with time running out and particularly on this controversial and
sensitive and important program as the 215 fisa amendment program. and i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: mr. president, --.
a senator: mr. president, how much time is remaining on our side? the presiding officer: one
minute. mr. coats: thank you, mr. president. mr. cruz: mr. president, many months ago the american people were astonished to learn that the federal government was collecting bulk metadata of personal cell phones from millions of law-abiding citizens. this legislation protects the constitutional rights of privacy under the fourth amendment while maintaining important tools to protect national security and law enforcement. this is bipartisan legislation that enjoys the support of the intelligence community and also the tech community. the bill is not perfect, but in my view we should take it up and consider reasonable amendments on the floor to make it better but it is imperative that we stand together united protecting the bill of rights. the presiding officer: the
senator from georgia has one minute remaining. mr. chambliss: i yield back. i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 499, s. 2685 a bill to reform the authorities of the federal government to require the production of certain business records, use pen registers and trap and trace devices and use other forms of information gathering for counterterrorism and criminal purposes signed by 18 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to s. 2685 a bill to reform the authorities of the the federal government to require the
production of certain business records, conduct electronic surveillance, use pen registers and entrap and trace devices and use other forms of information gathering for foreign intelligence, counterterrorism and criminal purposes and for other purposes shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, obviously i'm disappoint by tonight's vote. i'm not new to this fight. i mean, we've had six hearings on this issue. we had the interesting testimony of the head of the n.s.a. who talked about 50-some-odd terrorist activities that have been thwarted by what was in the law. but when he had to testify in public, it came down to possibly one. i mention that because people ask whether we had hearings. we had six. but the reason
i say i'm not new to this fight, the very first vote i cast as a united states senator in 1975 was in favor of the senate resolution that created the church committee.
i've worked ever since to ensure a strong oversight of surveillance authorities. we found the church committee that administrations of both parties had so badly misused the tools they had in the intelligence community and we tried to put in restrictions that would balance our constitutional rights and our security we needed as americans. and we tried to do that and i think we
did. it's why over the past decade i've consistently opposed extending the u.s. patriot act and fisa amendment sunsets without including meaningful reforms. the first sunsets were put in place by the republican leader of the house, dick armey, conservative republican, and myself here in the senate.
we joined together for the same thing, saying that if you don't have an ability to look at these issues on a periodic basis, then they'll be -- they'll go out of hand. i've fought the status quo every step of the way in these efforts but the brought coalition we built in favor of the u.s.a. freedom act
shows we're gaining ground. and while i'm critical of those republicans who failed to answer the call of the american people who elected them to stand up and work across the aisle, those who reverted to scare tactics rather than working productively to protect america's basic privacy rights and our national securi security. i want to acknowledge the hard work and principled stance of several republicans. senator heller, senator lee and senator cruz, as well as other republicans in the other body,
including my initial partner in this effort, congressman jim sensenbrenner. they've been true partners in this reform effort, like senators franken and blumenthal, feinstein and others who worked with me on
transparency and the fisa court reforms in here. now, we fight to protect our privacy rights. they mean a great deal to us. every vermonter does. every vermonter feels that way. in this lifelong vermonter will not give up the fight. i owe that to the vermonters i serve and the constitution i swore an oath to defend. i would say to those both in this chamber and outside who went at this issue b