US lawmakers shoot down legislation for limiting NSA spying

An amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 that would curtail funding for NSA’s collection of electronic communication data in cases where the subject is not a subject of a specific investigation has been shot down in the US House of Representatives.

Proposed by US Representative Justin Amash from Michigan, the amendment failed to pass after 205 representatives – both Republican and Democrat – voted for it, but 217 – again, both Republican and Democrat – rejected it.

In the days leading to the voting, the Obama administration has clearly expressed its disapproval of the proposal, and NSA director, General Keith Alexander, had several private classified briefings with the representatives in order to explain the workings of the agency’s surveillance program and to lobby for the rejection of the amendment.

The voting was also preceded by an unusual sight: a debate that included an open discussion about a (still) classified intelligence program on the House floor.

While unsatisfied with the result, the Representative who voted for the proposal have been heartened by how close the vote was, and are hoping that a similar but less broad bill will pass in the future.

Democrat Jerrold Nadler stated that they will keep coming back with proposals aimed at reducing the dragnet surveillance of metadata performed by the NSA, and he also added that they will continue their efforts to convince the legislators to let the PATRIOT Act expire in 2015.

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