Walz, Kline's votes diverge on NSA amendment
An amendment that would have limited the National Security's Agency's ability to collect private phone records split Minnesota's congressional delegation.
The amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, narrowly failed to pass Wednesday night by a vote of 217 to 205. Half of Minnesota's eight congressional members voted for the amendment and half against it. Seventh District Rep. Collin Peterson was the only Democrat to vote against the amendment. First District Rep. Tim Walz joined the other Democrats in voting "yes" for the amendment.
"I welcome this debate about finding the proper balance between civil liberties and national security," Walz said in a statement. "This amendment brings us closer to striking that balance by making the data collected more specific to those individuals who seek to do us harm while better protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans."
Second District GOP Rep. John Kline voted against the amendment. Kline's spokesman Troy Young said the congressman believes the NSA program is important for national security.
"Congressman Kline believes the program is an important tool for protecting our national security and must remain within the boundaries of the law Congress passed ensuring the civil liberties and privacy of Americans is preserved, but the Amash amendment is too broad and too blunt and eliminates key tools that have stopped numerous terrorist attacks," Young said in a statement. " We can and should debate U.S. intelligence programs and the House will continue to provide needed oversight on this critical issue. Additionally, the President must show us how his Administration is appropriately balancing protection of the American people from terrorism while still maintaining our privacy."
Kline's Republican challenger David Gerson attacked Kline on his Facebook page for his "no" vote on the amendment, writing "Today, John Kline voted to allow the Obama Administration to continue their blanket collection of every American's telephone records." He went on to post that if he was elected, he would "stand with Justin Amash for your 4th amendment rights, protecting your data from indiscriminate government surveillance."