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May 20, 2015

U.S. senators try to block extension of bulk data collection

WASHINGTON, May 20 (Reuters) – Republican Rand Paul
interrupted debate in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to make a
speech opposing legislation that would extend U.S. spy agencies’
collection of Americans’ telephone data.

Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, was expected to keep
speaking until midnight, or later. As the hours passed, he was
joined by other legislators, including Democrat Ron Wyden, who
also want to convince the Senate not to extend provisions of the
USA Patriot Act that provide the legal basis for the collection
of billions of telephone call records.

May 20, 2015

U.S. embassy in Cuba likely to operate in restrictive environment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new U.S. embassy in Havana is likely to operate with controls on staff travel and other restrictions similar to those on American diplomats in other countries with authoritarian governments, Washington’s chief Cuba negotiator said on Wednesday.

But Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, speaking on the eve of the latest round of talks with Cuba on restoring diplomatic ties, said Washington was determined to minimize restrictions.

May 19, 2015

U.S. Senate may move soon on surveillance reform bill

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate could vote as
soon as this week on a bill reforming a program that allows spy
agencies to sweep up huge amounts of data about Americans’ phone
calls, the chamber’s Republican leader said on Tuesday.

“I certainly think we ought to allow a vote on the
House-passed bill. If there are not enough votes to pass that,
then we need to look at an alternative,” Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell told reporters, referring to a possible
extension of the program.

May 19, 2015

U.S. Congress mulls days-long extension of surveillance plan

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress may deal
with the June 1 expiration of a program allowing spy agencies to
sweep up huge amounts of data about Americans’ phone calls by
extending it for just a few days, until after lawmakers return
from an upcoming 10-day recess, lawmakers and congressional
aides said on Tuesday.

Although both chambers are controlled by Republicans,
leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate have been
unable to agree on how to prevent the expiration of provisions
of the USA Patriot Act that provide the legal basis for the
collection of billions of telephone call records and other
business information.

May 18, 2015

U.S. Republican leader intends to extend surveillance plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he intends to “responsibly extend” this week the provisions of the USA Patriot Act due to expire on June 1.

The provisions underpin the program in which U.S. spy agencies collect vast amount of data about Americans’ phone calls. Members of Congress have been debating whether to extend the program for two months or five years, allow it to expire or pass reforms.

May 14, 2015

U.S. House passes Iran nuclear review legislation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass legislation giving Congress the right to review, and possibly reject, an international nuclear agreement with Iran.

The 400-25 vote sends the legislation to the White House, where administration officials have said President Barack Obama will sign it into law.

May 14, 2015

U.S. surveillance reform bill faces uncertain Senate fate

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – A bill to narrow spy
agencies’ power to collect Americans’ electronic data and
business records faced an uncertain fate in the Senate on
Thursday, even though it passed the U.S. House of
Representatives by an overwhelming majority.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a group of
defense hawks want to renew provisions of the USA Patriot Act
that allowed the bulk collection of Americans’ data, rather than
approve a new law that would allow this, the USA Freedom Act
passed by the House on Wednesday.

May 13, 2015

House votes to end spy agencies’ bulk collection of phone data

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would end spy agencies’ bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data, setting up a potential showdown with the U.S. Senate over the program, which expires on June 1.

The House voted 338-88 for the USA Freedom Act, which would end the bulk collection and instead give intelligence agencies access to telephone data and other records only when a court finds there is reasonable suspicion about a link to international terrorism.

May 8, 2015

Deadline may force compromise on U.S. surveillance law

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republican leaders
insist that spy agencies continue to have access to data on
Americans’ telephone calls despite a court ruling that the
practice is illegal, but aides said on Friday they may have to
compromise on proposed reforms of the program before it expires
on June 1.

Senate aides said the deadline could force supporters and
opponents of the bulk data collection program to work out a deal
before May ends. In practice the date may be even earlier as
Congress leaves Washington on May 22 for a Memorial Day recess.

May 7, 2015

U.S. Senate passes Iran nuclear review bill, House up next

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a bill giving Congress the right to review, and potentially reject, an international nuclear agreement with Iran.

The 98-1 vote sent the measure to the House of Representatives, which is expected to consider it as soon as next week. The White House has said President Barack Obama would sign it into law if it also passes the House, as expected.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
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