Rep. Justin Amash’s (R – MI) amendment to the 2014 defense bill faced harsh opposition from President Obama and from most of the House leadership. The amendment would have required the NSA to stop its phone surveillance against American citizens and restrict it only to specific numbers related to actual, real terrorists.
Unfortunately the bill was defeated, but the 205-217 vote is encouraging, and reflects rising public outrage against surveillance overreach and the success of a drive to convince Congressmen that opposing the NSA may not be what the party leadership wants, but it is very much what the American people demands.
Public opinion always takes a long time to trickle into the halls of Congress and even longer to find its ways into the Senate. That Amash’s amendment was so close to passing, and even saw a majority (111-83) of Democrats defying the president is a very encouraging sign.
It also underscores the debt of gratitude the American people owe whistleblower Edward Snowden, for without his actions such a vote could never have taken place at all, and we would remain blissfully in the dark about what is going on.
A defeat for privacy today, but the fight carries on.