Wyden, Paul, Amash and Lofgren Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Permanently End Mass NSA Surveillance of Phone Records
Bipartisan Champions of Civil Liberties Renew Fight Against Unnecessary Government Surveillance of Americans
WASHINGTON, D.C – Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., today introduced the Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Act in the Senate and House to permanently end the National Security Agency’s scandal-plagued program to surveil Americans’ phone records.
“The NSA’s sprawling phone records dragnet was born in secrecy, defended with lies and never stopped a single terrorist attack. Even after Congress acted in 2015, the program collected over half a billion phone records in a single year. It’s time, finally, to put a stake in the heart of this unnecessary government surveillance program and start to restore some of Americans’ liberties,” Wyden said. “This bill is just the opening bid in a much-needed, broad overhaul of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.”
“The federal government's appalling violations of our Fourth Amendment rights must end. This bill permanently stops one of the sprawling surveillance state's most intrusive overreaches and is the first step in a movement to reclaim the constitutional liberties sacrificed by the overreaching provisions of the PATRIOT Act,” said Sen. Paul.
“After falsely insisting to Congress that this illegal surveillance program is carefully overseen and critical to national security, the government admitted last year that it had to delete years of records due to legal violations, and now it’s been reported that the program has actually been shuttered for six months,” said Amash. “Getting rid of this program will vindicate Americans’ rights and begin the process of making the broader Patriot Act reforms that are going to be necessary to address the law’s serious constitutional flaws.”
“There are more substantial reforms that Congress can make to the Patriot Act authorities expiring this year to protect Americans’ Constitutional rights,” Lofgren said. “We must also ensure that the 2015 reforms of THE USA FREEDOM Act are working as intended. However, this bill takes a first uncontroversial step by abolishing a program which has consistently had issues complying with the Constitution, is of questionable intelligence value, and--if news reports are to be believed--was discontinued by the NSA over 6 months ago.”
Wyden, Paul, Amash and Lofgren have led bipartisan opposition to unconstitutional mass surveillance of Americans, repeatedly partnering on initiatives to defend Americans’ liberty from overreaching government interference. Wyden and Paul requested an inspector general investigation of the NSA phone records program after the agency revealed last year it had collected millions of unauthorized records.
Statements of Support
Andrew Crocker, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation: “EFF supports Senator Wyden's bill to end the government's ability to conduct ongoing suspicionless searches of Americans' telephone records. After nearly two decades of unconstitutional, wasteful mass surveillance of telephone metadata, it's time to remove this dangerous authority from the law.”
Sean Vitka, Policy Counsel, Demand Progress: “The CDR Program was an ill-advised attempt to preserve the NSA's dubiously claimed authority to programmatically collect the records of people who have never been in contact with a person suspected of wrongdoing. These mass surveillance programs have never stopped a single terrorist attack, but they have consistently violated both the letter and spirit of the law, most recently resulting in the purge of hundreds of millions of wrongfully collected Call Detail Records. Mass surveillance under the PATRIOT Act has achieved only two things: rampant privacy violations of innocent people and immunity and compensation for the corporations that enable it. This bill is an important step toward reining in the mass surveillance of innocent people.”
Sandra Fulton, Government Relations Director, Free Press Action: “Free Press Action thanks Senator Wyden for introducing this important bill to officially end the Call Detail Records provision embedded in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Even after the passage of the USA Freedom Act in 2015, supposedly to narrow this dangerously overbroad program, the NSA continued to collect metadata from hundreds of millions of phone calls made by people in America.
“This program represents an egregious violation of our rights and it must end. Even if the NSA has reportedly stopped using this dragnet approach now, we need the certainty that this bill provides against it restarting on the basis of Section 215 or some other government theory.
“Ending this program, however, should be just a first step in legislative efforts to protect our civil liberties. As we move toward the sunset of Section 215 at the end of this year, lawmakers who care about curbing mass surveillance must demand even more robust reforms to protect our privacy. These spying powers are particularly concerning in the hands of an administration that has so aggressively targeted protesters and communities of color.
“Congress should oppose any efforts to renew the CDR program and the mass-surveillance practices it embodied should not be permitted under Section 215 or any other authority.”
Alex Marthews, National Chair, Restore The Fourth: “Restore The Fourth enthusiastically supports Sen. Wyden's bill ending the collection of call detail records under this authority. The call detail records dragnet has violated the constitutional rights of millions of Americans, has never been shown to assist in any way with preventing attacks on the United States, and the NSA has never conducted it in compliance with the law.”
Amash introduces bill to eliminate the Export-Import Bank
H.R. 1910 ends the crony bank that subsidizes big corporations at taxpayer expense
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) today introduced H.R. 1910 to end the Export-Import Bank. He was joined by Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) as original cosponsors.
H.R. 1910, the Export-Import Bank Termination Act of 2019, shuts down the crony bank, which subsidizes loans for a few politically connected corporations, such as aircraft giant Boeing, at the expense of American businesses and taxpayers.
“The Export-Import Bank is a prime example of Washington’s addiction to political cronyism,” said Amash. “Instead of allowing businesses to compete in a free market, politicians pick winners and losers. Meanwhile, taxpayers assume the financial risk for the bank’s federally backed loans while a few corporations pocket the profits.”
H.R. 1910 phases out the Export-Import Bank over three years, eliminating billions of dollars in corporate welfare and ending the bank’s distortion of the private trade finance market.
The full text of H.R. 1910 is attached.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced town hall meetings in Grand Rapids and Pennfield Charter Township.
Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Pennfield High School Auditorium
8299 Pennfield Rd
Battle Creek, MI 49017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) today introduced the Ballot Fairness Act to prohibit unequal ballot access rules and straight-ticket voting in congressional elections.
Many states maintain rules for congressional elections that create arbitrary, systemic advantages for candidates nominated by major parties. Two of the most common are unequal ballot access rules and straight-ticket voting. Unequal ballot access rules can give automatic ballot access to candidates nominated by a major party while forcing independent and third-party candidates to meet various burdensome requirements. Straight-ticket voting advantages party-affiliated candidates by providing the ability to vote for a political party’s entire slate of candidates by making a single selection at the top of the ballot.
These kinds of party advantages can effectively block independent and third-party candidates from office, limiting voters’ power in the name of entrenching the dominant parties.
Using Congress’s explicit constitutional authority to set rules for congressional elections, the Ballot Fairness Act equalizes ballot access rules by requiring states to impose the same requirements on all congressional candidates seeking to appear on a ballot, regardless of party nomination or affiliation, and eliminates straight-ticket voting for congressional elections.
“Laws should not advantage particular political parties or discriminate against candidates who choose not to affiliate with a party,” said Amash. “The Ballot Fairness Act helps equalize the treatment of candidates so elections will be fairer and voters will have more options.”
Full text of the bill is attached.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) today introduced the Eminent Domain Just Compensation Act (EDJCA) to ensure private property owners are fairly compensated if the federal government takes their land for border security or enforcement activities.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution permits the federal government to take private property for public use—provided the property owner receives “just compensation.” But in some cases, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other government agencies are using “quick take” condemnations to take possession of private property before just compensation has been determined. If the preliminary payment the government makes when it takes the property is not fair, the property owner is left fighting for full compensation while dealing with the immediate practical and financial consequences of losing their property without adequate payment.
EDJCA ensures private property owners are justly compensated for takings by DHS by requiring that court proceedings settling compensation be completed prior to the government’s taking possession of the property.
“It is unjust for the government to seize someone’s property with a lowball offer and then put the burden on them to fight for what they’re still owed,” said Amash. “My bill will stop this practice by requiring that a property’s fair value be finalized before DHS takes ownership.”
The bill is attached.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) today announced Academy Night for Third District high school students interested in learning more about the U.S. service academies. Academy Night is scheduled for Monday, November 19, 2018, in the Ryerson Auditorium at the Grand Rapids Public Library.
Representatives from the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the United States Military Academy, and the United States Naval Academy will provide information about the academies and the application process. The offices of Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters also will be available to answer questions.
Admission to the academies, except for the Coast Guard Academy, requires a nomination from the vice president, a U.S. senator, or a U.S. representative. Students typically begin the admissions process in the spring of their junior year of high school. More information about the academy nomination process can be found at amash.house.gov.
Office of Rep. Justin Amash
Representatives from the U.S. service academies
Offices of Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters
Monday, November 19, 2018
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Grand Rapids Public Library
111 Library St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Amash recognizes service academy appointees and Congressional Medal of Merit recipients
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) recognized the 2018 service academy appointees and student Congressional Medal of Merit recipients from Michigan’s Third District at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on Saturday, May 5.
Applicants to the service academies require a nomination from an authorized nominating source, which includes members of Congress. To assist with the nominating process, Amash assembled a committee of military and civic leaders who reviewed applications, interviewed potential nominees, and made recommendations.
In addition to the seven service academy appointees recognized, Amash honored 34 students with the Congressional Medal of Merit. The Congressional Medal of Merit recognizes high school seniors who have demonstrated exemplary citizenship and academic excellence. Recipients were nominated by their principals or guidance counselors.
Service Academy Appointments
Congressional Medal of Merit Recipients
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced the winners of ArtFest 2018, the Congressional Art Competition for Michigan’s Third District, at an awards ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on Saturday, May 5.
Nick Ensing’s piece, Classy, was named the grand prize winner and will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for one year alongside winners from other congressional districts. Harmony by Elijah Beasley (Kent Career Tech Center) and Point Cabrillo by Hannah Van Wert (Kent City High School) were the Representative’s Choice winners and will be displayed for one year in Amash’s congressional offices.
Ensing, a student at Northview High School, will visit Washington, DC, this June for a reception honoring the winners. Pieces from Mallory Jarrett (Rockford High School), Sophia Layton (East Grand Rapids High School), Claire Shaffer (Northview High School), Keauna Hayes (Thornapple Kellogg High School), Willow Barnes (Kent Career Tech Center), Nisa Brooks (East Kentwood High School), and Ivan Reynolds (Lowell High School) were named honorable mentions.
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Kent Intermediate School District, Portland Community Arts Council, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, ArtPrize, and the Kellogg Community College Art Department were sponsors and participated in the judging committee.
The Congressional Institute sponsors the Congressional Art Competition in cooperation with the U.S. House of Representatives. The annual competition is open to high school students in participating congressional districts. More than 650,000 students have participated in the competition since it began in 1982.
A copy of the grand prize winning piece is attached to this release.
114 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Justin Amash (pronounced uh-MOSH) represents Michigan’s Third District in the 113th United States Congress. He was elected to his first term on November 2, 2010.
Justin was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree with High Honors in Economics from the University of Michigan and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. He worked for his family’s business, as a business lawyer, and as a Michigan state representative before his election to Congress.
Justin has never missed a vote in Congress or in the Michigan Legislature out of more than 3,000 roll call votes. He is leading the incorporation of Facebook and other social media into his work as an elected official by posting an explanation of every vote online, and he has set new standards for transparency and accountability.
Justin believes government overspending is one of the biggest threats to our economic health and national security, and he has introduced an innovative balanced budget amendment—the Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment—to control government spending and reduce the national debt. He supports a fair and simple tax code and a regulatory environment that promotes economic prosperity.
As an ardent defender of Americans’ civil liberties, Justin has been a leading critic of theunconstitutional suspicionless mass collection of all Americans’ phone records, the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
When asked by a New York Times reporter to describe his voting methodology, Justin explained: “I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.”
Justin is a member of the Joint Economic Committee and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR). He serves on the OGR subcommittees on National Security andGovernment Operations. Justin chairs the House Liberty Caucus.
Justin lives in Cascade Charter Township with his wife Kara, a graduate of Calvin College and a former elementary school teacher. Justin and Kara have three children.
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