Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a sweeping overhaul of the once-secret National Security Agency program that collects records of Americans’ phone calls in bulk.Since this bill was supported by Obama, it can hardly have been very radical. But for most Republicans fear of terrorism still trumps our rights:
Democrats and a handful of Republicans who supported the measure failed to secure the 60 votes they needed to take up the legislation. The vote was 58 to 42 for consideration.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who drafted the bill, blamed what he said was fear-mongering by the bill’s opponents for its defeat. “Fomenting fear stifles serious debate and constructive solutions,” he said. “This nation deserves more than that.”
“This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our backs,” Senator McConnell said before the vote, expressing the concerns of those who argued that the program was a vital tool in the fight against terrorism.Republicans have had a lot of success trading on dislike of Obama and fears about the state of the country, but they are still the party of W and Romney and have nothing new to offer.