McConnell Urges Adoption of Amendments to Improve House-Passed FISA Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding FISA amendments:

“Last night, the Senate voted to advance the House-passed FISA bill. We’ll have a vote on that legislation as soon as we can.

“On our way there, we should take some common-sense steps to ensure the new system envisioned by that legislation — a system we would soon have to rely upon to keep our country safe — will, in fact, work.

“The amendments filed last night would help do just that.

“For example:

“One would ensure that the there is adequate time to build and test a system that does not yet exist.

“Another would require that once the new system is built, the Director of National Intelligence reviews it and certifies that it will work.

“And another would require simple notification if the providers decide to change their data-retention policies.

“These fixes are common sense. And whatever one thinks of the proposed new system, there needs to be a basic assurance that it will function as its proponents say it will. The Senate should adopt these basic safeguards.

“Now, I’d hoped to see committees working hard to advance bipartisan, compromise FISA legislation this week, which is why I offered several temporary extensions of the program — to allow the space for that to occur. But these proposed short-term extensions were either voted down or objected to, including a very narrow extension of some of the least controversial tools contained within the program we’re considering.

“So this is where we are. It now falls on all of us to work diligently and responsibly to get the American people the best outcome that can be reasonably expected in this reality.

“That’s my commitment. I know many of my colleagues share it.”

Related Issues: National Security