Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection The Senate worked late into the night but was not able to figure out what to do about expiring provisions in the Patriot Act that authorize the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection

Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection

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The Senate worked late into the night but was not able to figure out what to do about expiring provisions in the Patriot Act that authorize the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. Senate managed to pass a controversial trade bill late last night before the Memorial Day recess, then Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky helped bring the next item of business to a halt - that would be legislation to reform or renew the government's authority to access millions of Americans' phone records for terrorism investigations. NPR's Ailsa Chang reports.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: By early evening, there was still a buzz of optimism. As senators dipped into a room near the Chamber to grab plates of Italian food, they spoke of a last-minute deal on the surveillance program that would soon emerge. Here's the number two Republican, John Cornyn of Texas.

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SENATOR JOHN CORNYN: I think once we can get Senator Paul and Senator Wyden in a place where they feel like their rights are protected, then I think we'll end pretty quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hopefully tonight still, right?

CORNYN: Yeah, 10, 11, 12.

CHANG: Try 1:00 a.m. That was the time on the Senate floor when everyone realized there'd be no deal at all.

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SENATOR RAND PAUL: I will object and I do. I object.

CHANG: One lone Senator, Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate Rand Paul wouldn't let the Senate advance even a one-week extension of the government's bulk collection of phone records. He said privacy rights were at stake. A two month extension had just failed on the floor along with a House bill that would let only phone companies store the data.

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SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: Mr. President, I renew my request with an amendment to extend the expiring authorities until June the fifth.

CHANG: So Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried getting everyone to agree to at least a four day extension so the program wouldn't lapse, he said, and leave Americans at risk.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Objection is heard.

CHANG: OK, maybe a two day extension?

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MCCONNELL: I renew my request with an amendment to extend expiring authorities until June the third.

CHANG: Nope.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Objection is heard.

CHANG: How about one lousy day?

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MCCONNELL: Mr. President, I renew my request with an amendment to extend expiring authorities until June the second.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Senator from Kentucky.

PAUL: I object.

CHANG: And so McConnell asked the Senate to cut its recess short and return on May 31, just hours before the Patriot Act provisions are set to expire. Maybe a deal could be reached then? But republican John McCain of Arizona is doubtful.

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SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: There's a new breed in the Senate and we have seen the manifestation of it - of people who are willing to - one or two or three are willing to stand up against the will of the majority.

CHANG: But Paul says he's standing up for all Americans. Ailsa Chang, NPR News, the Capitol.

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