In a House vote late yesterday, July 24th, 217 representatives went on record supporting the massive and once-secret National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program recently made public by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The final vote was 205 FOR the Amash amendment and 217 AGAINST. 111 Democrats united with 94 Republicans to defund the NSA’s blanket surveillance of Americans not suspected of any threat to national security.
The amendment is one of the closest votes in the last decade addressing a needed reform of any kind in the nation’s surveillance laws and practices. If the Amash amendment had passed (read Amash amendment gains support), it would not have allowed appropriations for some of the NSA secret mass surveillance programs as part of the Defense Appropriations bill.
ALA and many other groups had put on targeted grassroots alerts to all members of the House of Representatives. Both the White House and the NSA community had strongly opposed Amash. Though not successful, clearly the grassroots efforts made a dent–like a shot over the bough.
ALA would like to thank all those who voted in favor of this amendment and hope to garner even more support as we continue to work on these issues!