Speaking to reporters today at the White House, President Obama demanded that Congress renew Section 215 of the Patriot Act before the expiration on Monday.
“This needs to get done,” Obama declared, praising the House for its approval of the USA Freedom Act, a watered-down reform bill, and saying the Senate needs to approve it as well.
Section 215 is being used as the pretext for NSA surveillance of the American public, and Obama insisted that allowing that surveillance to lapse would endanger the public.
The White House is reiterating that there is “no plan B” to keep the surveillance going if Congress doesn’t give them the bill they want, though they similarly made this claim last week and the Senate still failed to pass the bill.
The Senate needed 60 votes of pass the USA Freedom Act and got 57 Saturday, then went into holiday recess. They are planning a Sunday session this upcoming weekend to try to vote again at the last minute, but despite heavy lobbying from the administration and pro-surveillance Congressional leadership, it is unclear how they will secure additional votes.