This morning, Rep. John Lewis and I, joined by 58 of our House colleagues, sent the following (and attached) letter to the Senate urging stronger surveillance reforms to protect privacy.
On May 13, 2015, the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 (H.R. 2048) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 338 to 88. We, the undersigned representatives, opposed the measure because its reforms do not adequately or appropriately reform surveillance practices or address privacy ...concerns. Many of our colleagues felt similarly, supporting the bill only out of concern the Senate would be unwilling to engage in more comprehensive reform.
The American people deserve congressional action that secures their constitutional rights. While we recognize the government's legitimate interests in certain surveillance activities intended to protect the United States, these intrusions must be carefully limited and overseen in order to avoid encroaching upon the freedoms they are intended to preserve. The recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declaring the government's interpretation of "relevant" unlawful underscores that Congress must do more. We urge you to join us in ensuring the federal government’s surveillance practices comport with the U.S. Constitution, are conducted under effective congressional oversight, and are limited to efforts proven effective at safeguarding our country.
Congress has had ample time for debate. We must not kick the can down the road with a short-term reauthorization. Nor will we acquiesce to any effort to weaken this legislation. Indeed, there is strong support for real reform in this chamber, and we hope you will work with us to improve the legislation, such as by incorporating the reforms contained in the original USA FREEDOM Act of 2013, which was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 152 representatives in the House, and the reforms embodied in the Massie-Lofgren amendment, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the House last year.
We look forward to working together to better protect the rights of all Americans.
Justin Amash (R-MI) John Lewis (D-GA) Thomas Massie (R-KY) Jared Polis (D-CO) Tom McClintock (R-CA) Raúl Labrador (R-ID) Jim Jordan (R-OH) Paul Gosar (R-AZ) Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) Jeff Duncan (R-SC) Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) Diana DeGette (D-CO) Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Mark Sanford (R-SC) Andy Harris (R-MD) Ted Poe (R-TX) Dave Brat (R-VA) Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Mark Pocan (D-WI) Keith Ellison (D-MN) Walter Jones (R-NC) Scott Garrett (R-NJ) Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) John Duncan (R-TN) Alcee Hastings (D-FL) Rod Blum (R-IA) Ted Lieu (D-CA) Jim McGovern (D-MA) Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) Richard Nugent (R-FL) Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) Bill Posey (R-FL) Chellie Pingree (D-ME) John Fleming (R-LA) Mark Meadows (R-NC) Michael Honda (D-CA) Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) Barbara Lee (D-CA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Curt Clawson (R-FL) Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) José Serrano (D-NY) Mark Takano (D-CA) Jody Hice (R-GA) Alan Grayson (D-FL) Michael Capuano (D-MA) Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Ted Yoho (R-FL) Tom Graves (R-GA) Christopher Gibson (R-NY) Scott Perry (R-PA) David Schweikert (R-AZ) Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) Phil Roe (R-TN) Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) Maxine Waters (D-CA)