The USA Freedom Act, which got its start as an NSA reform bill and has turned into a watered-down extension of the NSA surveillance program in general, is passed in the House, and Senate leaders have announced a Saturday vote on their version.
The Senate is facing strong opposition on both sides, from those opposed to surveillance and those wanting an even more straightforward approval. Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) is already filibustering, and some amendments are seemingly going to be needed to pass the bill.
But if the USA Freedom Act needs to be reconciled with the House version, it may be too late, as the House has already gone into recess for the holiday.
The Senate’s alternate plan, also set for a Saturday vote, would be to try to extend the NSA surveillance two months, giving them more time to sell a permanent extension. There too, however, there is no House approval, and Rep. Justin Amash (R – MI) claims assurances from House leaders that they won’t try to push through a short-term extension bill with virtually everyone gone on recess.