This week, Congress passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, a bill that is primarily designed to appropriate funds for the intelligence activities of a number of federal agencies, including the NSA and the CIA. However, the Senate version (which the House has since approved) added an amendment, Sec. 309, that critics, led by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), say legally endorses the NSA’s warrantless collection of Americans’ internet and phone communications by permitting the data to be stored for up to five years.
Amash found the new language in the bill shortly before it was to go to a final vote in the House. He demanded a roll call vote instead of the planned voice vote and released a "Dear Colleagues" letter explaining the new provision. Although 44 Republicans and 55 Democrats joined Amash in his nay vote, the bill still passed and will proceed to the president’s desk for signature.