The provisions are currently scheduled to sunset on June 1.
A major supporter of the National Security Agency’s anti-terrorism surveillance program, which allows the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, is pushing for an extension of the program, setting up a battle with critics who argue that Congress must fix the current law or let it expire.
“This has been a very important part of our effort to defend the homeland since 9/11,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday while defending the program in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “We know that the terrorists overseas are trying to recruit people in our country to commit atrocities in our country.”
McConnell, R-Ky., introduced a bill Thursday night that would temporarily renew the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act for two months.
The renewal would buy time for the Senate to debate, specifically, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the government to collect personal records without a warrant and has been the target of controversy since NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that it was being used by the NSA to capture and retain millions of Americans’ personal phone records.