Energy, Senate News

Senate Kills Keystone, NSA Bills

NSA Headquarters (Photo from TIME/Getty Images)
NSA Headquarters (Photo from TIME/Getty Images)

The ultimate “Do Nothing Congress” is going out with a bang.

This week, the U.S. Senate has voted to not take up legislation related to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the National Security Agency (NSA). In other words, it’s deja vu all over again.

Both pieces of legislation needed at least 60 votes to end debate on them and bring the bills up for a vote. The NSA reform bill fell short of that 60 vote threshold by two votes, while the Keystone bill needed just one more to reach 60.

The non-vote on Keystone is seen as another blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana’s re-election bid as she faces a runoff for her Senate seat against current House member Bill Cassidy. Both Cassidy and Landrieu proposed Keystone legislation in their respective chambers, with only Cassidy’s House version passing. According to, Landrieu currently trails Cassidy by double digits with less than a month to go before the runoff.

The NSA reform legislation (formally titled the USA Freedom Act) would have reportedly halted the NSA’s phone record collection system, which is allowed to collect records of American citizens with no warrant or court order, according to the website The Hill. The bill would have made it a requirement for the NSA to obtain those court orders prior to asking phone companies for phone records.

The Hill also reports that the bill had the support of most Democratic senators and just three Republicans. Opponents of the bill, including future majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued that the legislation would weaken the country’s ability to defend itself against terrorists.


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