WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Controversial provisions of the US Patriot Act allowing bulk data collection on US citizens may expire as a result of political disagreements in the Senate, US Senator Dick Durbin told Sputnik on Thursday.
Durbin added he hopes the Patriot Act is not allowed to expire. “I hope the USA Freedom Act passes,” he said.
On May 13, 2015, the House passed legislation, the USA Freedom Act, that amended the Patriot Act to end the NSA's bulk data collection program.
An identical bill is currently in front of the Senate as well as legislation to provide an un-amended or “clean” reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
On Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a two-month extension of key provisions of the Patriot Act to avoid their expiration, which will occur June 1, 2015.
Senate Democrats will not support an extension of the Patriot Act, Durbin said, and the US House of Representatives “will not agree to a short-term extension.”
Durbin explained that if there is a vote against the Freedom Act, “then it [the Patriot Act] expires.” The Senate likely will not recess until there is a vote on the Patriot Act, he noted.
He added that the USA Freedom Act “will not get sixty votes in the Senate,” the number of votes required to pass the Act.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act has been used to justify the dragnet data collection on US citizens, according to NSA documents leaked in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The House and Senate face a June 1, 2015 deadline to either reauthorize Section 215, or the authority will expire. Both the House and Senate are expected to leave Washington, DC for the week-long Memorial Day recess, and will reconvene after the June 1, 2015 deadline.