- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the Senate Monday to swiftly take up and pass a bipartisan rewrite of the Patriot Act that extends major snooping powers while curtailing its controversial record-collection provision, saying he has a “real concern for the safety of the U.S.” after persistent roadblocks in the upper chamber allowed key anti-terror tools to expire.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked the bill’s passage two weeks ago, but staring last night’s deadline he reversed course on Sunday and tried to quickly amend and pass the bill. But he’d left too little time and Sen. Rand Paul, who questions the broader Patriot Act, used his senator’s prerogative to stop action, pushing the chamber across the deadline and causing three of the Patriot Act’s powers to expire at midnight.

All sides agree the new bill, the USA Freedom Act, could pass as early as Tuesday, quickly reimposing the powers — but Mr. McCarthy said that’s only if Mr. McConnell abandons his bid to amend the legislation.

“The best option for the protection of this country is to pass our bill,” he said.

Under the USA Freedom Act, investigators could still go after individuals’ records, but the government, including the National Security Agenct, could no longer demand Americans’ data in bulk.

Mr. McCarthy called on the Senate to act during a session with reporters that allowed him to lay out his agenda for June.

He said GOP leaders are working on plans to deal with a Supreme Court decision at the end of this month that could gut Obamacare in two-thirds of the country by striking down subsidies in states that rely on the federal exchange known as HealthCare.gov.

Pressed for details, he said the GOP response largely will be dictated by how the justices rule, so it is difficult to get into specifics now.

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