The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican and Democratic leaders are "close to" agreeing on legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ telephone data, according to what top lawmakers are telling Politico.
Ranking House Intelligence Committee member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said in an interview that he’s “very close” to a deal with Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on a plan that would allow phone companies to hold telephone records now collected by the NSA.
“We’ve got to have legislation that will take away the concern and perception that people are being listened to,” Ruppersberger said.
Ruppersberger hopes to reach an agreement before the end of this month.
Rogers confirmed that talks with Ruppersberger and White House officials have been productive.
“I’ve been working with Dutch, with other colleagues in the House, to try to put something together that protects, that continues to protect, civil liberties, that allows us to keep the fundamental portions of our counter-terrorism programs. We’ve been looking for those confidence builders for some time,” Rogers said. “We think we’re getting close to a deal.”
While both sides might be close to a deal on this important issue, no one is sure if it has the support of all lawmakers in Congress; leaders of the House Judiciary Committee and its Senate counterpart are more interested in putting an end to the bulk collection program altogether. A separate plan approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee would maintain the program while adding some new privacy protections.
We will have more on this story as it develops.