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U.S. Representative Justin Amash

Representing the 3rd District of Michigan

Amash, Lewis, and House colleagues send letter to Senate

May 20, 2015
Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      
May 20, 2015                                                                                   
                                                                                                          
CONTACT                                                                                       
Jordan Bush
(616) 451-8383
jordan.bush@mail.house.gov
 
Amash, Lewis, and House colleagues send letter to Senate
Urge stronger surveillance reforms to protect privacy
 
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. John Lewis, and 58 of their House colleagues sent the following letter to the Senate this morning.
 
The text of the letter and list of cosigners are attached and below.
 
May 20, 2015
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
United States Senate                   
Minority Leader Harry Reid
United States Senate
 
Chairman Charles Grassley
Senate Judiciary Committee                                               
Chairman Richard Burr
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
 
Ranking Member Patrick Leahy
Senate Judiciary Committee                                        
Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
 
Dear Senators:
 
On May 13, 2015, the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 (H.R. 2048) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 338 to 88. We, the undersigned representatives, opposed the measure because its reforms do not adequately or appropriately reform surveillance practices or address privacy concerns. Many of our colleagues felt similarly, supporting the bill only out of concern the Senate would be unwilling to engage in more comprehensive reform.
 
The American people deserve congressional action that secures their constitutional rights. While we recognize the government's legitimate interests in certain surveillance activities intended to protect the United States, these intrusions must be carefully limited and overseen in order to avoid encroaching upon the freedoms they are intended to preserve. The recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declaring the government's interpretation of "relevant" unlawful underscores that Congress must do more. We urge you to join us in ensuring the federal government’s surveillance practices comport with the U.S. Constitution, are conducted under effective congressional oversight, and are limited to efforts proven effective at safeguarding our country.
 
Congress has had ample time for debate. We must not kick the can down the road with a short-term reauthorization. Nor will we acquiesce to any effort to weaken this legislation. Indeed, there is strong support for real reform in this chamber, and we hope you will work with us to improve the legislation, such as by incorporating the reforms contained in the original USA FREEDOM Act of 2013, which was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 152 representatives in the House, and the reforms embodied in the Massie-Lofgren amendment, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the House last year.
 
We look forward to working together to better protect the rights of all Americans.
 
Sincerely,
 
Justin Amash (R-MI)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Raúl Labrador (R-ID)
Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Andy Harris (R-MD)
Ted Poe (R-TX)
Dave Brat (R-VA)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Walter Jones (R-NC)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
John Duncan (R-TN)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Rod Blum (R-IA)
Ted Lieu (D-CA)
Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
Richard Nugent (R-FL)
Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Bill Posey (R-FL)
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
John Fleming (R-LA)
Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Michael Honda (D-CA)
Donna F. Edwards (D-MD)
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Curt Clawson (R-FL)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
José Serrano (D-NY)
Mark Takano (D-CA)
Jody Hice (R-GA)
Alan Grayson (D-FL)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Ted Yoho (R-FL)
Tom Graves (R-GA)
Christopher Gibson (R-NY)
Scott Perry (R-PA)
David Schweikert (R-AZ)
Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Phil Roe (R-TN)
Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
 
 
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