The House assistant Democratic leader said on Sunday that President Obama needed checks and balances on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial telephone surveillance program.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he was comfortable with Obama’s recent attempts to improve the program following leaks about its existence from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

But Clyburn said he voted last month with Republicans to defund the NSA surveillance program because it required trusting more people than the president.

“The president spoke out on this issue long before Snowden,” Clyburn said. “I was very comfortable with the president’s position on this. It’s just that every now and then, you cast your vote to let your constituents know and also let your colleagues know exactly how you feel about an situation, and also let the White House know this something that we cannot allow you to have a blank check.”

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