No changes there, then.
December 11, 2014 Congress this week quietly passed a bill that may give unprecedented legal authority to the government’s warrantless surveillance powers, despite a last-minute effort by Rep. Justin Amash to kill the bill.
Amash staged an aggressive eleventh-hour rally Wednesday night to block passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act, which will fund intelligence agencies for the next fiscal year. The Michigan Republican sounded alarms over recently amended language in the package that he said will for the first time give congressional backing to a controversial Reagan-era decree granting broad surveillance authority to the president.
The 47-page intelligence bill was headed toward a voice vote when Amash rose to the House floor to ask for a roll call. Despite his efforts—which included a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to all members of the House urging a no vote—the bill passed 325-100, with 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans opposing.
The provision in question is “one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative,” Amash wrote on his Facebook page. The tea-party libertarian, who teamed up with Rep. John Conyers in an almost-successful bid to defund the National Security Agency in the wake of the Snowden revelations, warned that the provision “grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.”