The Senate is stuck, and it’s Mitch McConnell’s fault. The man who famously declared that his overriding priority was to make President Obama a one-term President is tangled up in his own pride and unwillingness to acknowledge the vote count in the Senate for renewal of the Patriot Act.
This controversial legislation was passed in reaction to 9/11 and clearly overemphasized security as opposed to the Constitutional rights of all Americans. One section of the Act has been interpreted to allow the National Security Agency to vacuum up the meta data from every single phone call placed by American citizens. That provision, the same one that forced Edward Snowden to object in a very public and controversial way, does not have the votes for renewal in the Senate and has already been excised by the House in a truly bipartisan manner with more than 300 votes against it.
Moreover, Rand Paul feels strongly against this legislation’s infringement on the rights of every single American and has mounted a one-man filibuster against it. He is not alone in his fight and very well may succeed as the Senates ties itself up in knots trying to reach the 60 votes needed to override his actions.
Mitch McConnell faces a choice. Either he can get part of the U.S. Patriot Act renewed (it’s known as the USA Freedom Act in the version passed by the House), or he can watch it lapse completely. It’s a matter of whether the perfect is the enemy of the good, and Senator McConnell’s pride.