Chairman Nadler Floor Statement on Motion to Go to Conference on H.R. 6172, USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) spoke on the House floor in support of a Motion to Go to Conference on H.R. 6172, the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, which passed the House by a vote of 284-122. Chairman Nadler, the original sponsor of the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, will serve on the conference committee with the Senate to finalize the legislation.
"The bill we intended to consider last night strengthened privacy protections and made substantial improvements to the law. The bill, as amended by the Senate, is a good and important package of reforms.
"Now, you may disagree with that assessment. You may genuinely believe that this bill goes too far to reform the FISA system, or that it does not go far enough with those reforms. If you disagree with me on the merits of the bill, I respect that disagreement.
"What I cannot accept—and what I suspect many Americans will not accept—is a transparent, inexplicable, totally unjustified flip-flop on this bill.
"Just a few weeks ago, 126 Republicans joined 152 Democrats in support of a nearly identical measure—different only in that the Senate has added one amendment.
"Virtually all of those 126 Republicans changed their position in the past 24 hours.
"Madam Speaker, the American people see through the excuses.
"Nobody believes that this sudden reversal has anything to do with complaints about proxy voting.
"Nobody believes that the flip-flop is about Michael Flynn or Roger Stone, or even President Trump, whose cases have nothing to do with the authorities we hope to reform.
"There have been no real policy demands to explain the sudden reversal. If my Republican colleagues had asked for substantive changes to the bill, we would have heard them out and tried to address their concerns.
"But that’s not what happened.
"The Republicans abandoned this bipartisan project for one reason, and one reason only: the President tweeted, on a whim, and told them to oppose this bill.
"Madam Speaker, this is just one more example of how the President, and his enablers in this body, have stood in the way of national security, of civil liberties, and of our responsibilities as Members of Congress.
"I refuse to let our efforts to reform FISA die simply because Republicans are unwilling to stand up to the President.
"This legislation ends the NSA’s call detail records program. It applies the cutting edge of Fourth Amendment privacy protections to Section 215. It forces the government to disclose years of secret FISA court opinions. It increases transparency across the board. It raises the stakes for any government attorney who would dare mislead the court. And it dramatically expands the role of the amicus to be an advocate for privacy and civil liberties, and to push back against claims that should have been rejected by the court long ago.
"It is our responsibility to continue our work, to pass this bill, to send it to the President’s desk, and to ensure that these reforms are made law.
"None of us should rest until we have done that work.
"I urge my colleagues to support this motion and send the bill to conference, where we can do the jobs we were sent here to do."
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