The House is expected to vote this evening on an amendment by Rep.
Officials say they need all the records to be able to identify U.S. residents unknown to the intelligence community who may be working with foreign terrorists.
The Amash bill would also apply to other bulk collection of U.S. business records under the Patriot Act, though it's not clear what other records, if any, are being collected in bulk. Amash and his allies argue bulk collection violates the U.S. Constitution, with little evidence it has made Americans safer.
"When's the last time a president put out an emergency statement against an amendment?" he tweeted early Wednesday morning. "The Washington elites fear liberty. They fear you."
Amash was referring to a statement issued Wednesday night by White House spokesman
In a speech before the liberal Center for American Progress think tank Tuesday, Sen.
"There is nothing in the Patriot Act that limits this sweeping bulk collection to phone records," he said. "The government can use the Patriot Act's business records authority to collect, collate and retain all sorts of sensitive information, including medical records, financial records, or credit card purchases."
Asked whether that was happening in a
The debate comes amid evidence that most Americans are uncomfortable with what they have learned about NSA surveillance of Americans.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the NSA programs are infringing on some privacy rights, and about half see those programs as encroaching on their own privacy., according to a