McConnell’s role in surveillance bill bewilders his friends


WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is generally seen as a master congressional deal-maker. But he walked into a dead end on domestic surveillance that left some of his friends bewildered.

The Kentucky Republican had repeatedly insisted on continuing the bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. That put him at odds with the Obama administration and the Republican-run House, which overwhelmingly endorsed significant limits.

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Senators say McConnell overestimated his ability to force a deadline-driven extension of the law. And he seemed to misjudge the bipartisan support for the House-crafted changes.

Most puzzling to some were his actions that allowed first-term Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky to use the Senate’s elaborate rules to delay things long enough to cause the entire USA Patriot Act to lapse for a couple of days.


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