The lawmaker who wrote the USA Patriot Act said Wednesday that, as it stands, the House will never renew the provisions that the Obama administration uses to collect Americans’ phone records, meaning the government’s surveillance program will be cut off some time next year.
Both Democrats and Republicans told top administration officials that they reject President Obama’s claim that the law allows the intelligence community to collect the phone numbers, time, date and duration of calls made by Americans, and they said Mr. Obama needs to change the way he is running the program if he wants to keep it intact.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who was chief author of the Patriot Act in 2001, said Congress specifically tried to limit the law’s uses when it renewed the provisions under Section 215 of the act that allow the government to collect data from businesses without obtaining a warrant.
In that renewal Congress added in the word “relevant” to try to limit what the government was pursuing. But Mr. Sensenbrenner said the intelligence community has expanded, not limited, its data-gathering efforts after Congress tried to reel them in.