Johnson explains his vote for Sensenbrenner’s USA Freedom Act

By Kay Nolan, May 28, 2015

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson tells WisPolitics he voted for the USA Freedom Act because he “recognized reality,” despite his belief that limiting NSA monitoring of citizens’ telephone calls “is hampering our ability to do effective intelligence gathering.”

The House bill, co-authored by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, received 57 votes late last week, three votes shy of what was needed to advance the legislation after it had already cleared the House. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, RKy., favors a re-authorization of the full Patriot Act, leaving the Senate in a last-minute scramble as some provisions in the law are set to expire.

Johnson said “it’s a shame the way this debate’s gone,” but added “because of mischaracterizations, if the public opinion wants that program shut down, it will be.”

Johnson said he hopes to vote for a future bill that “gives us more transition time” to make sure the U.S. government can do “queries” to get information to “shut down some very real plots.” He called members of the NSA “true patriots” who defend Americans’ freedom in a similar way as the military.