By Miriam Raftery
July 25, 2013 (San Diego) –An amendment that sought to ban the National Security Agency from collecting phone and Internet records on Americans who are not under investigation failed to win passage in the House of Representatives today. The Amash amendment, a bipartisan proposal to a spending bill, was narrowly defeated 205-217.
All five members of the San Diego Congressional delegation voted to defeat the measure including Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa as well as Democrats Juan Vargas, Susan Davis, and Scott Peters.
Supporters of the amendment argued that the NSA overstepped its authority by conducting warrantless spying on citizens--activities never authorized by Congress and that some contend violates the Constitution.
Both House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also voted against the amendment. The White House also urged defeat of the measure.
Warrantless accessing of phone and internet records for U.S. citizens was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is now in hiding and facing possible treason charges if extradited to the U.S. His actions have sparked controversy on whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor. A national movement, Restore the Fourth, has arisen to call for restoration of Fourth Amendment rights, which guarantee freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
For details on the failed amendment, see Amash Amendment Fails 205-217, Along Bipartisan Lines. View the whole roll call vote here.