U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

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NSA Reform - Amendment Vote and My Bill

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WASHINGTON, Jul 25, 2013 | comments
Last night, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill on NSA reform. It would have limited the powers of the NSA for one year (it was an appropriations bill, which are year-to-year bills). I voted in support of this amendment. Unfortunately, the amendment failed (205-217) and did not pass the House.

One month ago (June 28), I introduced a bill (H.R. 2603, the Relevancy Act) that would PERMANENTLY limit the powers of the NSA. It would require an FBI investigation to be of a specific person or group of persons, and it requires the tangible things sought and collected by the NSA to be related to a person that is subject to an investigation. We as a country must keep our citizens safe from terrorist attacks while protecting our personal freedoms.

Today, I sent a letter to Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Majority Whip McCarthy, Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican Policy Committee Chairman Lankford, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rogers, urging them to move forward on my NSA reform bill, H.R. 2603, the Relevancy Act, through a regular legislative process. Last night, more than 200 Republicans and Democrats in the House supported an amendment (Amash-Conyers) that would temporarily reform the NSA. My bill, H.R. 2603, the Relevancy Act, would provide permanent reform.


Here is the text of the letter:
July 25, 2013

John Boehner
Speaker of the House
Office of the Speaker
H232 the Capitol
Washington, DC 20515-0001

Dear Speaker John Boehner:

I write today to encourage you to take action on my bill, H.R. 2603, as soon as possible.

As you know, yesterday, more than 200 of our colleagues expressed serious concerns about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) current metadata collection program during consideration of amendments offered to the Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act of 2014.

While I supported these amendments, I also believe that the best solution to protect the interests of Americans from an overreach by the NSA is to move forward through a regular legislative process, rather than needing to legislate through a Department of Defense funding bill one year at a time.

For this reason, several weeks ago, I introduced the Relevancy Act, which would permanently end the NSA’s blanket collection of American’s personal information.

My bill would focus the scope of metadata collection in two ways. First, it would require the investigation to be of a specific person or group of persons. Second, the Relevancy Act requires the tangible things sought to be related to a person that is subject to an investigation.

It is time to give Members the opportunity to move forward on protecting the civil liberties of American citizens. I believe we can do that while also keeping our country safe from terrorist attacks though targeting legislation like H.R. 2603.

Once again, I urge you to allow us to take action as soon as possible and, I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Dennis Ross
Member of Congress


CC: Majority Leader Cantor
CC: Majority Whip McCarthy
CC: Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers
CC: Republican Policy Committee Chairman Lankford
CC: Chairman Goodlatte
CC: Chairman Rogers

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