Today, Congressman Gary Palmer voted for H.R. 2048, the USA Freedom Act, which reforms and reauthorizes the Patriot Act, and states the following:
"America's founders long recognized there is a delicate balance between national security and individual liberty. Protecting Americans from foreign aggressors one of the most important roles of the federal government under the Constitution. The government must seek to do this without our violating our Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures being compromised.
"I believe this bill strikes the right balance. This bill makes significant reforms, such as ending bulk data collection by the federal government, but also reauthorizes parts of the Patriot Act that have proved important in fighting terrorism. The bill also updates the law, closing a loophole that requires the government to stop tracking foreign members of ISIS or other terrorist groups once they reach American soil and increasing sentences for those who provide material support for terrorism."
This bill also includes several other reforms, including declassifying Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Courts opinions that include major interpretations of law, and creates a panel of amicus curie to advise the FISA court concerning civil liberties. It also provides additional protections for privacy, such as allowing challenges to national security gag orders and restricting large-scale collection of records without specific targets.