President Barack Obama is urging the U.S. Senate to work through its recess to resolve outstanding issues with the Patriot Act so it can be passed before it expires on Monday. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama urged the Senate to work through its recess to resolve its issues with the Patriot Act, after a measure to extend spy agency's bulk collection of Americans' telephone records was blocked in the U.S. Senate early on Saturday, leaving the fate of the program uncertain days before it expires on June 1 (Monday.) His administration has pushed hard for the Freedom Act. The House of Representatives backed it by an overwhelming margin, with strong support from Republicans and Democrats, on May 13. But by a vote of 54-45, the Senate failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance a bill that would have extended for two months provisions of the "USA Patriot Act" that allow the collection of vast amounts of telephone "metadata". That vote was 57-42, just short of the 60 needed. The data collection program, in which the National Security Agency sweeps up vast amounts of Americans' telephone records and business information, was exposed two years ago by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is now a fugitive in Russia. The Patriot Act was passed to increase national security in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Backers of the Freedom Act argued that it provided national security protections while eliminating provisions of the Patriot Act that raised privacy concerns.