UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News) Six of Wisconsin’s eight U-S House members voted to end the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records and e-mails. That effort fell short, when the House voted 217-to-205 yesterday to spare the massive surveillance project.
Janesville Republican Paul Ryan and La Crosse Democrat Ron Kind were the only Wisconsin members voting to preserve the N-S-A program. They sided with House Speaker John Boehner, who wanted to preserve what he called “critical intelligence tools that have proven successful in preventing terrorist attacks and keeping America safe.”
Menomonee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner said “the time has come” to stop collections of phone records that go way beyond what he envisioned when he helped write the U-S-A Patriot Act after 9-11.
Liberals, libertarian-conservatives, and tea party lawmakers all say they’ll keep fighting to undo a program they call an unconstitutional intrusion on people’s rights. Michigan Democrat John Conyers said the slim vote assures that a vigorous debate on the surveillance program will continue. The effort to end the N-S-A project was an amendment to a defense spending bill for the next fiscal year. That package was approved 315-to-109. All five Republicans voted to pass the defense budget, and all three of the state’s Democrats voted no.