Defund NSA amendment efforts have received a boost, according to Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash via his Facebook page.
Amash’s amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations legislation essentially strips funding away from the National Security Agency if the agency collects data and records from individuals not under investigation. It also obligates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to issue a statement confirming data collection by the NSA as for a target under investigation.
“In order for funds to be used by the NSA, the court order would have to have a statement limiting the collection of records to those records that pertain to a person under investigation,” Amash said. “If the court order doesn’t have that statement, the NSA doesn’t receive the funding to collect those records.”
The Defund NSA amendment pertains to phone records spying and, judging from the full text, doesn’t encompass Internet activities. Still, it’s a start. But if approved, the amendment would still have to meet with Senate confirmation before it could take effect, and given President Obama’s enthusiastic use and support of the NSA PRISM program, it could be difficult to get Democratic support (or confirmation without a presidential veto).
Amash has fought hard to get the amendment this far and on Tuesday, he thanked House Speaker John Boehner “for working diligently toward resolving significant concerns over the amendment process with respect to #NSA” and confirmed that votes on the House floor would come “later this week.”
However, don’t take that statement as a Boehner endorsement or as any indication the amendment will survive to the final piece of legislation. Many representatives in the Republican-controlled House haven’t warmed up to the Defund NSA amendment either, and according to a Boehner representative, the Speaker is one of them. (Though Amash may have an ally in Rep. Steve Stockman.)
Why so little love from Amash’s own party?
Well, MLive.com described Amash as “staunch libertarian” in a recent article and a trip through the representative’s Facebook photos reveals ties to Senator Rand Paul (pictured in the above image) along with the accompanying statement, “Proud to call Sen. Rand Paul a friend and ally in liberty.” In other words, Justin Amash is not your typical Republican (or Democrat, for that matter).
“It’s not a partisan issue. It’s something that cuts across the entire political spectrum,” Amash said in comments to the Rules panel first reported by Politico. He also argued that the amendment “seeks only to rein in the NSA’s ‘blanket authority’ under the PATRIOT Act to collect records and the metadata,” the site noted.
Do you agree with Justin Amash and his Defund NSA amendment efforts?
[Image via Justin Amash Facebook Page]