Patriot Act Faces Revisions Backed by Both Parties

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., right, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, to talk about his move to disentangle one of two contested immigration measures from the Homeland Security budget and debate the issues separately, as the Senate faces an impasse over provisions attached to the spending bill aimed at blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., right, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, to talk about his move to disentangle one of two contested immigration measures from the Homeland Security budget and debate the issues separately, as the Senate faces an impasse over provisions attached to the spending bill aimed at blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., right, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (New York Times) — After more than a decade of wrenching national debate over the intrusiveness of government intelligence agencies, a bipartisan wave of support has gathered to sharply limit the federal government’s sweeps of phone and Internet records.

On Thursday, a bill that would overhaul the Patriot Act and curtail the so-called metadata surveillance exposed by Edward J. Snowden was overwhelmingly passed by the House Judiciary Committee and was heading to almost certain passage in that chamber this month.

An identical bill in the Senate — introduced with the support of five Republicans — is gaining support over the objection of Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who is facing the prospect of his first policy defeat since ascending this year to majority leader.

The push for reform is the strongest demonstration yet of a decade-long shift from a singular focus on national security at the expense of civil liberties to a new balance in the post-Snowden era.

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