U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander voted in favor of the USA Freedom Act, joining 66 other senators Tuesday in passing legislation supported by a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans while and opposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reports The Tennessean.
“The bulk-data collection provisions of this legislation are weak and inadequate, but other provisions of the bill continue important PATRIOT Act tools that protect Americans, especially during this time of increased threats from terrorists,” Alexander said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., joined 32 senators in opposing the measure.
“One of the most fundamental functions of our government is to protect and defend its citizens,” Corker said in a statement.
“This bill falls short of that by making our counterterrorism tools less effective and limiting our ability to keep Americans safe from terrorist attacks, and that is not something I am able to support. Congress and the administration now must work with the private sector to fill the gaps in our intelligence capabilities to better defend the nation from terrorist acts while still respecting our civil liberties.”
…The USA Freedom Act re-enacts some of the provisions of the Patriot Act that expired Sunday. But it does not allow the National Security Agency to continue its bulk data collection.
Alexander and Corker originally favored extending the Patriot Act. Both were skeptical of the USA Freedom Act, arguing any measure that in any way cut programs included in the Patriot Act would be detrimental to the country’s safety.