Durbin, Collins, Leahy, Lee

USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048)

Senator Durbin: (10:10 AM)

  • Spoke on gun violence.
    • "On January 29, 2013, Haidia Pendelton was gunned down in a park on the south side of Chicago. She was a beautiful, caring young woman with a bright future ahead of her. She was 15 years old, a sophomore honor student at King College Prep. Her family described her as a spectacular source of joy and pride for them. One week before her death Haidia was here with her school band. She was thrilled by that opportunity. A few days later she was gone. Murdered by men who mistook her and her friends for members of a rival gang. What a senseless tragedy to lose children to gun violence. And it happens every day in America. Overall, on average, 88 Americans are killed by gun violence every day. Today, June 2, 2015, would have been her 18th birthday. Today marks the first annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day."


Senator Collins: (10:13 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    •  "Last month during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, I asked the attorney general whether or not there have ever been any privacy violations regarding that telephone data. She replied "No." I am truly perplexed that anyone would argue that the telephone data are better protected in the hands of 1,400 telecom companies and 160 wireless carriers than in a secure N.S.A. data base that only 34 carefully vetted and trained federal employees are allowed to query under the supervision of a federal judge. Under the U.S.A. FREEDOM Act, the House bill, when we get the telephone number of an overseas terrorist, we potentially are going to have to go to each one of those 1,400 telecom companies, 160 wireless carriers, which potentially will involve thousands of people. The privacy implications are far greater if we have the telecoms control the data. Far greater. Moreover, we know that private-sector data is far more susceptible to hackers, to criminals."


Senator Leahy: (10:27 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "The original U.S.A. FREEDOM Act was introduced by Senator Lee, myself, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner in the other body. We all knew that section 215, the roving wiretap authority, the lone wolf provision, would expire on June 1. That's why we started working to change this. We're also well aware of the second circuit court of appeals decision that made part of the program illegal. I think what we've done is a bill carefully crafted by both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, why it passed 338-88 in the House. And now if we start amending it, we don't know how much longer it's going to take, and we end up with no protections. I think that is not a choice we want to take."


Senator Lee: (10:27 AM)

  • Spoke on the National Security Agency.
    • "Because of the fact that these provisions have now expired, it is incumbent upon us to move these things forward in all deliberate speed. Whatever the outcome of this vote, and of those votes that will follow later today, whatever the outcome of these votes, the American people deserve better than this. Vital national security programs that touch on our fundamental civil liberties deserve a full, open, honest, and unrushed debate. This should not be subject to cynical government by-cliff brinksmanship. If members of Congress, particularly Republican members of Congress, ever want to improve their standing among the American people, then we must abandon this habit of political gamesmanship. Finally, it's time for us to pass this bill, this bill that has been passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives, this bill that carefully balances important interests that the American people care deeply about. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation."