06.02.15

Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on USA FREEDOM Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement on the USA FREEDOM Act, which passed the Senate 67-32:

“I voted against the PATRIOT Act more than a decade ago because I believed it would open the door to government overreach. Since then, we have seen that secret, domestic surveillance programs at the National Security Agency have crossed the line. 

"The USA FREEDOM Act makes important reforms, including putting an end to the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and improving transparency of secret FISA courts. But it doesn’t go far enough to protect the privacy and freedoms of law abiding Americans.

"I believe the abuses authorized by sections of the Patriot Act should have been more thoroughly addressed by Congress and I am concerned that the USA FREEDOM Act doesn’t do enough to protect civil liberties. Instead of voting on amendments to weaken the bill the Senate should have worked together to make the legislation stronger. I want to close the loophole that allows for warrantless searches of the content of Americans' personal communications. That is why I cosponsored a bipartisan amendment to close this loophole sponsored by Senators Wyden and Paul. This reform deserved a vote but Majority Leader McConnell refused to give us a vote.

"I voted against this bill because it doesn’t take action on the warrantless search loophole and still allows for government overreach, abuses and infringement on the freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. I look forward to getting this right and working to help Congress pass legislation that protects our constitutional freedoms and strengthens our counterterrorism efforts.”