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House Rejects Amendment to Defund NSA Program That Collects Millions of Americans' Phone Records – Here's Everyone Who Voted for and Against It

More Democrats voted for the amendment than Republicans...

This June 6, 2013, photo, shows an aerial view of the NSA's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. (Photo: AP/Rick Bowmer)

NSA Data Center This June 6, 2013, photo, shows an aerial view of the NSA's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. (Photo: AP/Rick Bowmer)

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- The House narrowly rejected a challenge to the National Security Agency's secret collection of hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records Wednesday night after a fierce debate pitting privacy rights against the government's efforts to thwart terrorism.

The vote was 217-205 on an issue that created unusual political coalitions in Washington, with libertarian-leaning conservatives and liberal Democrats pressing for the change against the Obama administration, the Republican establishment and Congress' national security experts.

The final vote tally shown on C-SPAN was 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats in favor, and 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats opposed.

(Scroll down to see the full roll call vote)

The showdown vote marked the first chance for lawmakers to take a stand on the secret surveillance program since former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden leaked classified documents last month that spelled out the monumental scope of the government's activities.

It is unlikely to be the final word on government intrusion to defend the nation and Americans' civil liberties.

"Have 12 years gone by and our memories faded so badly that we forgot what happened on Sept. 11?" Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) chairman of the Intelligence committee, said in pleading with his colleagues to back the program during House debate.

Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, chief sponsor of the repeal effort, said his aim was to end the indiscriminate collection of Americans' phone records.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., leaves his office to walk to the House of Representatives where his amendment to the Defense spending bill would cut funding to the National Security Agency's program that collects the phone records U.S. citizens and residents, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. The White House and congressional backers of the NSA's electronic surveillance program are warning that ending the massive collection of phone records from millions of Americans would put the nation at risk from another terrorist attack. Credit: AP

His measure, offered as an addition to a $598.3 billion defense spending bill for 2014, would have canceled the statutory authority for the NSA program, ending the agency's ability to collect phone records and metadata under the USA Patriot Act unless it identified an individual under investigation.

The House later voted to pass the overall defense bill, 315-109.

Amash told the House that his effort was to defend the Constitution and "defend the privacy of every American."

The unusual political coalitions were on full display during a spirited but brief House debate.

"Let us not deal in false narratives. Let's deal in facts that will keep Americans safe," said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) a member of the Intelligence committee who implored her colleagues to back a program that she argued was vital in combatting terrorism.

But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) a senior member of the Judiciary Committee who helped write the Patriot Act, insisted "the time has come" to stop the collection of phone records.

Several Republicans acknowledged the difficulty in balancing civil liberties against national security, but expressed suspicion about the Obama administration's implementation of the NSA programs - and anger at Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

"Right now the balancing is being done by people we do not know. People who lied to this body," said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.).

He was referring to Clapper who admitted he gave misleading statements to Congress on how much the U.S. spies on Americans. Clapper apologized to lawmakers earlier this month after saying in March that the U.S. does not gather data on citizens - something that Snowden revealed as false by releasing documents showing the NSA collects millions of phone records.

With a flurry of letters, statements and tweets, both sides lobbied furiously in the hours prior to the vote in the Republican-controlled House. In a last-minute statement, Clapper warned against dismantling a critical intelligence tool.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Congress has authorized - and a Republican and a Democratic president have signed - extensions of the powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.

Two years ago, in a strong bipartisan statement, the Senate voted 72-23 to renew the Patriot Act and the House backed the extension 250-153.

Since the disclosures this year, however, lawmakers have said they were shocked by the scope of the two programs - one to collect records of hundreds of millions of calls and the other allowing the NSA to sweep up Internet usage data from around the world that goes through nine major U.S.-based providers.

Although Republican leaders agreed to a vote on the Amash amendment, one of 100 to the defense spending bill, time for debate was limited to 15 minutes out of the two days the House dedicated to the overall legislation.

The White House and the director of the NSA, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, made last-minute appeals to lawmakers, urging them to oppose the amendment. Rogers and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, implored their colleagues to back the NSA program.

Eight former attorneys general, CIA directors and national security experts wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the two programs are fully authorized by law and "conducted in a manner that appropriately respects the privacy and civil liberties interests of Americans."

White House press secretary Jay Carney issued an unusual, nighttime statement on the eve of Wednesday's vote, arguing that the change would "hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community's counterterrorism tools."

Proponents of the NSA programs argue that the surveillance operations have been successful in thwarting at least 50 terror plots across 20 countries, including 10 to 12 directed at the United States. Among them was a 2009 plot to strike at the New York Stock Exchange.

Rogers joined six GOP committee chairmen in a letter urging lawmakers to reject the Amash amendment.

"While many members have legitimate questions about the NSA metadata program, including whether there are sufficient protections for Americans' civil liberties," the chairman wrote, "eliminating this program altogether without careful deliberation would not reflect our duty, under Article I of the Constitution, to provide for the common defense."

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.

Here's how House members voted via the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives (Find your representative here):

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 412
(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

H R 2397 RECORDED VOTE 24-Jul-2013 6:51 PM

AUTHOR(S): Amash of Michigan Amendment No. 100

QUESTION: On Agreeing to the Amendment

 

Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 94 134 6
Democratic 111 83 6
Independent
TOTALS 205 217 12

--- AYES 205 ---

Amash

Amodei

Bachus

Barton

Bass

Becerra

Bentivolio

Bishop (UT)

Black

Blackburn

Blumenauer

Bonamici

Brady (PA)

Braley (IA)

Bridenstine

Broun (GA)

Buchanan

Burgess

Capps

Capuano

Cárdenas

Carson (IN)

Cartwright

Cassidy

Chabot

Chaffetz

Chu

Cicilline

Clarke

Clay

Cleaver

Clyburn

Coffman

Cohen

Connolly

Conyers

Courtney

Cramer

Crowley

Cummings

Daines

Davis, Danny

Davis, Rodney

DeFazio

DeGette

DeLauro

DelBene

DeSantis

DesJarlais

Deutch

Dingell

Doggett

Doyle

Duffy

Duncan (SC)

Duncan (TN)

Edwards

Ellison

Eshoo

Farenthold

Farr

Fattah

Fincher

Fitzpatrick

Fleischmann

Fleming

Fudge

Gabbard

Garamendi

Gardner

Garrett

Gibson

Gohmert

Gosar

Gowdy

Graves (GA)

Grayson

Green, Gene

Griffin (AR)

Griffith (VA)

Grijalva

Hahn

Hall

Harris

Hastings (FL)

Holt

Honda

Huelskamp

Huffman

Huizenga (MI)

Hultgren

Jeffries

Jenkins

Johnson (OH)

Jones

Jordan

Keating

Kildee

Kingston

Labrador

LaMalfa

Lamborn

Larson (CT)

Lee (CA)

Lewis

Loebsack

Lofgren

Lowenthal

Lujan Grisham (NM)

Luján, Ben Ray (NM)

Lummis

Lynch

Maffei

Maloney, Carolyn

Marchant

Massie

Matsui

McClintock

McCollum

McDermott

McGovern

McHenry

McMorris Rodgers

Meadows

Mica

Michaud

Miller, Gary

Miller, George

Moore

Moran

Mullin

Mulvaney

Nadler

Napolitano

Neal

Nolan

Nugent

O'Rourke

Owens

Pascrell

Pastor (AZ)

Pearce

Perlmutter

Perry

Petri

Pingree (ME)

Pocan

Poe (TX)

Polis

Posey

Price (GA)

Radel

Rahall

Rangel

Ribble

Rice (SC)

Richmond

Roe (TN)

Rohrabacher

Ross

Rothfus

Roybal-Allard

Rush

Salmon

Sánchez, Linda T.

Sanchez, Loretta

Sanford

Sarbanes

Scalise

Schiff

Schrader

Schweikert

Scott (VA)

Sensenbrenner

Serrano

Shea-Porter

Sherman

Smith (MO)

Smith (NJ)

Southerland

Speier

Stewart

Stockman

Swalwell (CA)

Takano

Thompson (MS)

Thompson (PA)

Tierney

Tipton

Tonko

Tsongas

Vela

Velázquez

Walz

Waters

Watt

Waxman

Weber (TX)

Welch

Williams

Wilson (SC)

Yarmuth

Yoder

Yoho

Young (AK)

 

--- NOES 217 ---

Aderholt

Alexander

Andrews

Bachmann

Barber

Barr

Barrow (GA)

Benishek

Bera (CA)

Bilirakis

Bishop (GA)

Bishop (NY)

Boehner

Bonner

Boustany

Brady (TX)

Brooks (AL)

Brooks (IN)

Brown (FL)

Brownley (CA)

Bucshon

Butterfield

Calvert

Camp

Cantor

Capito

Carney

Carter

Castor (FL)

Castro (TX)

Cole

Collins (GA)

Collins (NY)

Conaway

Cook

Cooper

Costa

Cotton

Crawford

Crenshaw

Cuellar

Culberson

Davis (CA)

Delaney

Denham

Dent

Diaz-Balart

Duckworth

Ellmers

Engel

Enyart

Esty

Flores

Forbes

Fortenberry

Foster

Foxx

Frankel (FL)

Franks (AZ)

Frelinghuysen

Gallego

Garcia

Gerlach

Gibbs

Gingrey (GA)

Goodlatte

Granger

Graves (MO)

Green, Al

Grimm

Guthrie

Gutiérrez

Hanabusa

Hanna

Harper

Hartzler

Hastings (WA)

Heck (NV)

Heck (WA)

Hensarling

Higgins

Himes

Hinojosa

Holding

Hoyer

Hudson

Hunter

Hurt

Israel

Issa

Jackson Lee

Johnson (GA)

Johnson, E. B.

Johnson, Sam

Joyce

Kaptur

Kelly (IL)

Kelly (PA)

Kennedy

Kilmer

Kind

King (IA)

King (NY)

Kinzinger (IL)

Kirkpatrick

Kline

Kuster

Lance

Langevin

Lankford

Larsen (WA)

Latham

Latta

Levin

Lipinski

LoBiondo

Long

Lowey

Lucas

Luetkemeyer

Maloney, Sean

Marino

Matheson

McCarthy (CA)

McCaul

McIntyre

McKeon

McKinley

McNerney

Meehan

Meeks

Meng

Messer

Miller (FL)

Miller (MI)

Murphy (FL)

Murphy (PA)

Neugebauer

Noem

Nunes

Nunnelee

Olson

Palazzo

Paulsen

Payne

Pelosi

Peters (CA)

Peters (MI)

Peterson

Pittenger

Pitts

Pompeo

Price (NC)

Quigley

Reed

Reichert

Renacci

Rigell

Roby

Rogers (AL)

Rogers (KY)

Rogers (MI)

Rooney

Ros-Lehtinen

Roskam

Royce

Ruiz

Runyan

Ruppersberger

Ryan (OH)

Ryan (WI)

Schakowsky

Schneider

Schwartz

Scott, Austin

Scott, David

Sessions

Sewell (AL)

Shimkus

Shuster

Simpson

Sinema

Sires

Slaughter

Smith (NE)

Smith (TX)

Smith (WA)

Stivers

Stutzman

Terry

Thompson (CA)

Thornberry

Tiberi

Titus

Turner

Upton

Valadao

Van Hollen

Vargas

Veasey

Visclosky

Wagner

Walberg

Walden

Walorski

Wasserman Schultz

Webster (FL)

Wenstrup

Westmoreland

Whitfield

Wilson (FL)

Wittman

Wolf

Womack

Woodall

Young (FL)

Young (IN)

 

--- NOT VOTING 12 ---

Barletta

Beatty

Bustos

Campbell

Coble

Herrera Beutler

Horsford

McCarthy (NY)

Negrete McLeod

Pallone

Rokita

Schock

 


 

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