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H.R. 2048: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015

Jun 2, 2015 at 4:06 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the Senate.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 2048 (114th) in the Senate.

The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048, Pub.L. 114–23) is a U.S. law enacted on June 2, 2015 that restored in modified form several provisions of the Patriot Act, which had expired the day before. The act imposes some new limits on the bulk collection of telecommunication metadata on U.S. citizens by American intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency. It also restores authorization for roving wiretaps and tracking lone wolf terrorists. The title of the act originally was a ten-letter backronym (USA FREEDOM) that stood for Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act.

The bill was originally introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013, following publication of classified NSA memos describing bulk data collection programs leaked by Edward Snowden that June. When it was re-introduced in the 114th Congress (2015–2016), it was described by the bill sponsors as "a balanced approach" while being questioned for extending the Patriot Act through the end of 2019. Supporters of the bill said that the House Intelligence Committee and House leadership would insist on reauthorizing all Patriot Act powers except bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Critics assert that mass surveillance of the content of Americans' communication will continue under Section 702 of FISA which does not expire until 2017 and Executive Order 12333 due to the "unstoppable surveillance-industrial complex" despite the fact that a bipartisan majority of the House had previously voted to close backdoor mass surveillance.

Section 215 bulk collection authority expired June 1, 2015, but in the event that the Obama administration is successful in restarting it, USA Freedom enacts a ban on such collection activities which "shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act."

The USA Freedom Act mandates that the FISA court release "novel" interpretations of the law, which thereby sets precedent and thereby makes up the body of FISA court common law, as both legal authority for deciding subsequent cases, and for guidance parameters for allowing or restricting surveillance conduct. The Act is not clear as to whether or not it mandates retroactive disclosure of decisions prior to passage of the Act in 2015. In October 2016, the ACLU filed a Motion for the Release of FISA Court Records to release interpretations prior to the USA Freedom Act.

This summary is from Wikipedia.

Source: Wikipedia

Totals

All Votes R D I
Yea 68%
 
 
 
67
23
 
43
 
1
 
Nay 32%
 
 
 
32
30
 
1
 
1
 
Not Voting
 
 
 
1
1
 
0
 
0
 

Bill Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source: senate.gov.

The Yea votes represented 74% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.

Ideology Vote Chart

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Republican - Yea Democrat - Yea Republican - Nay Democrat - Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.

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Vote Details

Notes: *Senate Majority Whip’s Vote “Aye” or “Yea”?
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Study Guide

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You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the bill this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a bill. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the bill, whether to change the bill before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

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  3. What is the next step after this vote?
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    For this question it may help to briefly examine the bill itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
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  3. How did your senators vote?
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  5. How much of the United States population is represented by the yeas?
  6. GovTrack displays the percentage of the United States population represented by the yeas on some Senate votes just under the vote totals. We do this to highlight how the people of the United States are represented in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, but state populations vary significantly, the individuals living in each state have different Senate representation. For example, California’s population of near 40 million is given the same number of senators as Wyoming’s population of about 600,000.

    Do the senators who voted yea represent a majority of the people of the United States? Does it matter?

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