An interesting thing happened on the way to Senate passage of the USA Freedom Act this week; Republicans and Democrats from states across the mountain West joined together to get the bill to President Barack Obama’s desk.
Twenty-three Senate Republicans and 43 Democrats voted to approve the legislation, which reauthorizes sections of the Patriot Act and ends the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. Republicans including Mike Lee from Utah, Dean Heller from Nevada and Steve Daines from Wyoming voted for the bill, despite the objections of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned that eliminating the program could jeopardize national security.
Sen. Mike Crapo, a conservative Republican from Idaho, voted against the bill, but not for the reason you might think.
“I don’t believe the bill went far enough to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans who are committing no crime and who are not a security threat to the United States,” Crapo said after the vote.