McConnell Calls for Immediate Passage of Important National Security Legislation
Yesterday, the House of Representatives did come together around a bipartisan agreement to renew some critical national security tools. The USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020 will reauthorize key authorities granted to intelligence and national security professionals under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act… I am confident this will pass the Senate as well. It is not a question of if this passes, but when.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020:
“Yesterday, the House of Representatives did come together around a bipartisan agreement to renew some critical national security tools.
“The USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020 will reauthorize key authorities granted to intelligence and national security professionals under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“First and foremost, this means ensuring that the men and women tasked with rooting out espionage and stopping terrorist activity on U.S. soil are equipped with the powers they need to be successful.
“Today, the threats these professionals confront are as serious and diverse as ever. Terrorist groups continue to wish us harm. Major hostile powers like Russia and China remain committed to undermining the integrity of American institutions, from our infrastructure to our elections.
“The targeted powers reauthorized by this legislation are a vital part of efforts to protect American communities.
“That’s a fact. It’s a fact that’s been reaffirmed time and time again by Attorneys General and by the numerous reauthorizations granted by Congress.
“This time is no different. We can’t mistake the safety and security that FISA authorities have helped preserve for evidence that they’re no longer needed.
“At the same time, we cannot mistake a vital process for a perfect one. The 2016 election showed us perfectly clearly that the authorities granted under FISA are in need of targeted reforms to improve accountability.
“This was backed up by the findings of the Department of Justice Inspector General.
“That’s why this legislation contains a number of specific reforms to address the kinds of failures that embarrassed the system in 2016. More oversight over the practices of the FISA court. More declassification and more compliance practices. Higher-level approval for certain sensitive applications. And more.
“Our responsibility here is two-fold. We have to continue equipping our national security professionals and the intelligence community to anticipate, confront, and eliminate the threats facing our nation. And we also have to respond to the failures of 2016 with real reforms that ensure the public trust is handled appropriately.
“This legislation, passed by a bipartisan majority in the House and endorsed by the Attorney General, strikes the right balance.
“So I am confident this will pass the Senate as well. It is not a question of if this passes, but when.
“I hope that my colleagues who may not choose to vote for this legislation will not deny this body the opportunity to renew these authorities today to prevent any lapse.
“I hope none of our colleagues choose to force these important national security tools to temporarily lapse for the sake of making a political point which will not change the result.
“I hope we can renew these authorities today.
“But if we cannot, if some of our colleagues choose to object, the lapse will only be temporary, similar to past short lapses between reauthorizations.
“These national security tools should not lapse. They do not need to lapse. And I hope none of our colleagues choose to unilaterally force them to lapse for the sake of making a point.
“But at least it would only be temporary. Because this bill will pass. These authorities are getting renewed. And that’s a great thing for the security of our nation and the safety of the American people. I hope it can happen today.”
Related Issues: National Security