USA Freedom Act

Cruz Remarks Draw Intel Panel Attention

Burr said the committee was reviewing Cruz's comments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said his staff was reviewing comments about the Patriot Act's metadata program made by Sen. Ted Cruz during Tuesday's GOP presidential debate.  

Burr said that any time there are specific references to numbers related to intelligence programs it sets off concerns among those who handle classified information, but a review is necessary to determine if there was an open source for the data.  

Cruz Strikes Back on Rubio's Patriot Act Attacks

Cruz is hitting back on criticism from his presidential rival Rubio. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Facing accusations from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that he's supported weakening surveillance powers, presidential rival and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas hit back against his rival on Thursday.  

The two Republican presidential candidates have been at each other over their differing views on reauthorization of provisions of the Patriot Act. The provisions in question involve the bulk collection of telephone metadata by the National Security Agency. Rubio is in a contingent led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that is blasting people who supported ending the bulk collection, claiming the practice is key to fighting terrorist threats.  

Rubio: Next President Will Have to Restore Intelligence Powers

Paul and Rubio represented opposite sides in the NSA surveillance debate, although both voted to filibuster the USA Freedom Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the next president will have to reverse damage done to the national security apparatus by the USA Freedom Act.  

The Florida Republican and presidential candidate was one of the 32 senators to vote against the bill to overhaul the National Security Agency's Patriot Act-era intelligence collection programs, which easily passed. He was in a group of lawmakers, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said the bill could make America less secure . And he was one of just 14 who voted to filibuster the bill earlier Tuesday, along with fellow presidential candidates Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.  

Senate Advances Patriot Act Overhaul, but Too Late to Foil Rand Paul (Updated)

Rand Paul arrives at the Capitol determined to block any Patriot Act extension Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:52 p.m. | The Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance the USA Freedom Act Sunday evening, but too late to prevent Sen. Rand Paul from being able to force a short-term expiration of Patriot Act surveillance authorities at midnight. The vote came after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., threw in the towel on advancing any short-term extensions of the Patriot Act authorities under the continuing objections of Paul, the fellow Kentuckian he has endorsed for the presidency. The Senate voted 77-17, far above the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Several more steps are required, however, before a vote on final passage, which wouldn't happen until Tuesday at 2 a.m. at the earliest in the face of maximum obstruction from Paul. And it's starting to look like it could take more days beyond that.  

Paul acknowledged the bill "will ultimately pass" as he began an hourlong speech Sunday night.  

After Rand Paul's Objections, Patriot Act Lurches Toward Expiration (Updated)

Paul blocked a Patriot Act extension when he couldn't get votes on his amendments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated May 23, 2 a.m. | The Senate failed to advance even a one-day extension of the Patriot Act surveillance authorities early Saturday, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., leading bipartisan objections to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in an extraordinary sequence.  

The end result is that the Senate will reconvene for legislative business at 4 p.m. on May 31, staring down a midnight deadline to reauthorize the programs in question, including some far less contentious than the bulk data collection that's gotten most of the attention. "This week, I stood on the floor for roughly 11 hours in defense of the Fourth Amendment and successfully blocked the renewal of the Patriot Act. We should never give up our rights for a false sense of security," Paul said in a statement. "This is only the beginning — the first step of many. I will continue to do all I can until this illegal government spying program is put to an end, once and for all."