After narrow defeat, privacy supporters in Congress brag on Twitter

These members of congress voted to defund the NSA's metadata program, and they want their constituents to know it.

 

Kevin Collier

Tech

Published Jul 25, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 10:41 am CDT

The vote for privacy was probably closer than anyone expected.

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On Wednesday, the House voted on an amendment, authorized for a full vote only two days before, to gut the National Security Agency’s practice of tracking every phone call in the U.S, and limit tracking only to the targets of criminal investigations.

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The amendment failed by the narrow score of 217-205 in a vote that was remarkably bipartisan: Democrats voted 111-83; Republicans 94-134.

Two months before, this issue was the last thing on Congress’s mind. But then former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked evidence that the agency gets a rolling court order to track every American’s Verizon calls, and that all the other major carriers follow suit. Soon, even President Obama had acknowledged and defended the program, and the Director of National Intelligence made a public statement that it had been renewed.

The best immediate chance of ending the program came Wednesday, with Rep. Justin Amash‘s (R-Mich.) amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would cut the NSA’s funding for tracking the metadata of Americans’ calls. It sparked an immediate PR debate. Privacy activists, on one hand, urged Americans to call Congress to support Amash. The White House, on the other, released an emergency statement urging the House to shut the amendment down.

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But activists had sent a message. Representatives took to Twitter, bragging in droves that they’d voted for Amash’s amendment, pledging their support for a new ideal. Amash retweeted more than a dozen of them.

Here’s a link to my Facebook page & a brief statement why I voted for the Amash amendment to defense approps bill – https://t.co/vXXXznlHw2

— Rep. Kevin Yoder (@RepKevinYoder) July 25, 2013

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks on the House floor in support of the @repjustinamash amdt to HR 2397: http://t.co/gq73UDGIZx #NSA

— Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiPress) July 24, 2013

I supported @repjustinamash amendment on #NSA data collection last night, sorry to see it fail, this is a debate worth continuing.

— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) July 25, 2013

Tonight, I voted FOR the Amash Amendment. The federal gov’t is getting too big and too intrusive. #NSA #amash

— Bill Johnson (@RepBillJohnson) July 25, 2013

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Proud to stand w/ @repjustinamash on his amdt to stop blanket collection of phone records by the #NSA. My statement: http://t.co/7t409YYA1h

— Mike Fitzpatrick (@RepFitzpatrick) July 25, 2013

Just voted YES on @repjustinamash’s amdt to protect Americans’ #4thAmendment rights + END #NSA mass surveillance https://t.co/gXyoWF43Wg

— Diane Black (@RepDianeBlack) July 25, 2013

Proudly cast my vote for the @RepJustinAmash amendment. Retweet if you stand with me in the fight for our right to privacy #NSA #CA17

— Rep. Mike Honda (@RepMikeHonda) July 25, 2013

 

A number of pro-privacy voters on Twitter have already declared that support of the Amash amendment will be a litmus test for them in coming elections.

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Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Jul 25, 2013, 12:32 pm CDT