The USA Freedom Act saw fresh movement in Congress today, providing new hope to NSA reformers. The bill, first introduced in October, would target mass surveillance by rewriting section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of FISA, the two sections of law that have been most important to legal justifications of NSA surveillance programs. The bill had been stalled since its introduction more than six months ago, but this morning the House judiciary committee announced plans to move the Freedom Act into markup on Wednesday, setting it up for a vote on the House floor if the bill is able to clear the committee.
It's encouraging news for legislative reforms that had seemed hamstrung just weeks ago, as many suspected more meager reforms announced by President Obama had taken the air out of the Freedom Act. Today's news from the House is particularly important in light of the competing Senate bill, which goes easier on surveillance agencies. With both bills advancing through the respective houses, it seems increasingly likely that Congress will have the chance to hear an NSA reform bill before long.