Senate rejects amendment limiting warrantless government internet searches

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Disappointing.

The Senate on Wednesday fell one vote shy of passing a bipartisan amendment drafted by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) that sought to limit warrantless government Internet searches and browsing history.

The vote required a three-fifths majority, and only 59 lawmakers supported it. The 37 no-votes were comprised of both Republicans and Democrats, while four senators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), didn't cast a vote, though it's reportedly unclear if their participation would have changed the result.

Four Senators who did not vote

I've reached out to their offices. (Alexander is self-isolating because a staffer has COVID.)

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) May 13, 2020

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of 10 Democrats to reject the amendment, said he did so out of concern that passing it would effectively kill the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act completely, while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) thinks the FISA court will serve as a "sufficient check" against such requests on its own.

Shaheen, another Dem who opposed Wyden’s amendment, says she believes the FISA court will act as a sufficient check on the government’s requests for Internet browsing history.

— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) May 13, 2020

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