House Passes Pompeo Amendment to Restrict NSA SpyingWhile the most talked-about news out of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday was the defeat of the so-called Amash amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s massive data collection program, another amendment related to NSA spying was quietly passed overwhelmingly by lawmakers.

The Pompeo amendment (championed by Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas) passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 409-12. However, “no one is talking about it,” Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) told TheBlaze on Thursday.

The amendment that passed is reportedly intended to “ensure none of the funds may be used by the NSA to target a U.S. person or acquire and store the content of a U.S. person’s communications, including phone calls and e-mails.”

In contrast, the Amash amendment sought to “end authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.”

Culberson told TheBlaze in a phone interview why he supported the Pompeo amendment over the more sweeping amendment authored by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

He argued the amendment properly requires that no funds can be used by the NSA to collect or store the content of American citizens’ communications data. This includes phone calls and emails. The amendment; however, does not seem to restrict the NSA’s ability to continue collecting and storing massive amounts metadata.

The Amash amendment would have prevented the NSA from using any funds to collect any data on persons that are not under investigation.

“This would protect the data of terrorists who are operating sleeper cells in this country and make us vulnerable to future terrorist attacks,” Culberson said of the Amash amendment, adding that it “would do nothing to reform the NSA surveillance program and would do nothing to ensure that the privacy of American citizens is protected.”

The Pompeo amendment may not fully address privacy advocates’ concerns about NSA spying, but those like Culberson feel it’s a step in the right direction.

Though President Barack Obama previously assured the nation that “nobody is listening to your phone calls,” revelations leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden suggest that the spy agency is, in fact, storing — though not necessarily accessing the “content” of individuals’, including Americans — communications data.

Here is the exact phrasing of the Pompeo amendment (emphasis added):

None of funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Security Agency to–

(1) conduct an acquisition pursuant to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 for the purpose of targeting a United States person; or

(2) acquire, monitor, or store the contents (as such term is defined in section 2510(8) of title 18, United States Code) of any electronic communication of a United States person from a provider of electronic communication services to the public pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

Culberson was highly critical of Snowden, calling him an “idiot” and a “traitor.” He also said President Obama and his administration have demonstrated an “utter disregard for the law.”

“That’s the way to reign in a lawless president,” Culberson told TheBlaze, “by controlling the money.”

House Passes Pompeo Amendment to Restrict NSA Spying

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 05: U.S. Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) (R) talks with Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-TX) (L) after a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee March 5, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images

The Texas congressman said lawmakers also intend to “rewrite” the Patriot Act sometime this fall and lamented the fact that he and other conservatives were fooled into voting for it the first time around. He said lawmakers were led to believe that the government would only be targeting “overseas foreign nationals whose phone calls were routed through the United States,” not American citizens.

Culberson said Congress has an opportunity to correct some of the unconstitutional provisions found in the controversial legislation. The only thing Congress is allowed to in an appropriations bill, he explained, is turn the funding “on or off.”

Pompeo on Wednesday defended the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, saying the “metadata program is carefully designed with program layers of oversight by all three branches of government. This is precisely the way our government ought to operate: with input from Article I and Article 2 and Article III of the United States Constitution.”

House Passes Pompeo Amendment to Restrict NSA Spying

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan. Credit: AP

The Pompeo amendment was added to a $598.3 billion defense spending bill for 2014, which the House ended up passing, 315-109.

The overall defense spending bill would provide the Pentagon with $512.5 billion for weapons, personnel, aircraft and ships plus $85.8 billion for the war in Afghanistan for the next budget year.

The total, which is $5.1 billion below current spending, has drawn a veto threat from the White House, which argues that it would force the administration to cut education, health research and other domestic programs in order to boost spending for the Pentagon.

In a leap of faith, the bill assumes that Congress and the administration will resolve the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that have led the Pentagon to furlough workers and cut back on training. The bill projects spending in the next fiscal year at $28.1 billion above the so-called sequester level.

TheBlaze has reached out to Rep. Amash and will update this story should he or his office respond.

 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the clarification that the Pompeo amendment does not seem to restrict the NSA’s ability to continue collecting and storing individuals’ metadata.

Here is the final roll call vote for the Pompeo amendment via the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives:

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 411
(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

H R 2397      RECORDED VOTE      24-Jul-2013      6:47 PM
AUTHOR(S):  Pompeo of Kansas Amendment No. 99
QUESTION:  On Agreeing to the Amendment

 

Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 227 6
Democratic 182 12 6
Independent
TOTALS 409 12   12

 

— AYES    409 —

Aderholt
Alexander
Amash
Amodei
Andrews
Bachmann
Bachus
Barber
Barr
Barrow (GA)
Barton
Bass
Benishek
Bentivolio
Bera (CA)
Bilirakis
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Bishop (UT)
Black
Blackburn
Blumenauer
Bonamici
Bonner
Boustany
Brady (PA)
Brady (TX)
Braley (IA)
Bridenstine
Brooks (AL)
Brooks (IN)
Broun (GA)
Brown (FL)
Brownley (CA)
Buchanan
Bucshon
Burgess
Butterfield
Calvert
Camp
Cantor
Capito
Capps
Cárdenas
Carney
Carson (IN)
Carter
Cartwright
Cassidy
Castor (FL)
Castro (TX)
Chabot
Chaffetz
Chu
Cicilline
Clarke
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Coffman
Cole
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Conaway
Connolly
Cook
Cooper
Costa
Cotton
Courtney
Cramer
Crawford
Crenshaw
Crowley
Cuellar
Culberson
Cummings
Daines
Davis (CA)
Davis, Danny
Davis, Rodney
DeFazio
DeGette
Delaney
DeLauro
DelBene
Denham
Dent
DeSantis
DesJarlais
Deutch
Diaz-Balart
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle
Duckworth
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Ellison
Ellmers
Engel
Enyart
Eshoo
Esty
Farenthold
Farr
Fattah
Fincher
Fitzpatrick
Fleischmann
Fleming
Flores
Forbes
Fortenberry
Foster
Foxx
Frankel (FL)
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gabbard
Gallego
Garamendi
Garcia
Gardner
Garrett
Gerlach
Gibbs
Gibson
Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (MO)
Grayson
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Griffin (AR)
Griffith (VA)
Grimm
Guthrie
Gutiérrez
Hahn
Hall
Hanabusa
Hanna
Harper
Harris
Hartzler
Hastings (FL)
Hastings (WA)
Heck (NV)
Heck (WA)
Hensarling
Higgins
Himes
Hinojosa
Holding
Hoyer
Hudson
Huelskamp
Huffman
Huizenga (MI)
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurt
Israel
Issa
Jackson Lee
Jeffries
Jenkins
Johnson (GA)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, E. B.
Johnson, Sam
Jones
Jordan
Joyce
Kaptur
Keating
Kelly (IL)
Kelly (PA)
Kennedy
Kildee
Kilmer
Kind
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kinzinger (IL)
Kirkpatrick
Kline
Kuster
Labrador
LaMalfa
Lamborn
Lance
Langevin
Lankford
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Latham
Latta
Lee (CA)
Levin
Lewis
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Loebsack
Long
Lowenthal
Lowey
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lujan Grisham (NM)
Luján, Ben Ray (NM)
Lummis
Lynch
Maffei
Maloney, Carolyn
Maloney, Sean
Marchant
Marino
Massie
Matheson
Matsui
McCarthy (CA)
McCaul
McClintock
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McHenry
McIntyre
McKeon
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
McNerney
Meadows
Meehan
Meeks
Meng
Messer
Mica
Michaud
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Miller, George
Moore
Moran
Mullin
Mulvaney
Murphy (FL)
Murphy (PA)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal
Neugebauer
Noem
Nolan
Nugent
Nunes
Nunnelee
O’Rourke
Olson
Owens
Palazzo
Pascrell
Pastor (AZ)
Paulsen
Payne
Pearce
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Perry
Peters (CA)
Peters (MI)
Peterson
Petri
Pingree (ME)
Pittenger
Pitts
Pocan
Poe (TX)
Pompeo
Posey
Price (GA)
Price (NC)
Quigley
Radel
Rahall
Reed
Reichert
Renacci
Ribble
Rice (SC)
Richmond
Rigell
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Rooney
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Rothfus
Roybal-Allard
Royce
Ruiz
Runyan
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Ryan (WI)
Salmon
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Sanford
Sarbanes
Scalise
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schneider
Schrader
Schwartz
Schweikert
Scott (VA)
Scott, Austin
Scott, David
Sensenbrenner
Serrano
Sessions
Sewell (AL)
Shea-Porter
Sherman
Shimkus
Shuster
Simpson
Sinema
Sires
Slaughter
Smith (MO)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Smith (WA)
Southerland
Speier
Stewart
Stivers
Stockman
Stutzman
Swalwell (CA)
Takano
Terry
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tierney
Tipton
Titus
Tonko
Tsongas
Turner
Upton
Valadao
Van Hollen
Vargas
Veasey
Vela
Velázquez
Visclosky
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walorski
Walz
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watt
Waxman
Weber (TX)
Webster (FL)
Welch
Wenstrup
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Williams
Wilson (FL)
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Wolf
Womack
Woodall
Yarmuth
Yoder
Yoho
Young (AK)
Young (FL)
Young (IN)

 

—- NOES    12 —

 

Becerra
Capuano
Cohen
Conyers
Edwards
Fudge
Grijalva
Holt
Honda
Lofgren
Polis
Rangel

 

— NOT VOTING    12 —

Barletta
Beatty
Bustos
Campbell
Coble
Herrera Beutler
Horsford
McCarthy (NY)
Negrete McLeod
Pallone
Rokita
Schock

 


 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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