After a heated debate that cut across party lines and drew new alliances, the House of Representatives passed a multi-billion dollar defense spending bill Wednesday — but rejected the crucial amendment that would have curtailed the NSA's super-snooping powers.
Republican Congressman Justin Amash's amendment would have made it necessary to prove a person was under investigation before the NSA could their collect phone records. It was voted down 217-205.
The decision came following major efforts from President Obama to push for a rejection of the amendment. On the eve of the vote, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney warned legislators that the change would "hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community's counterterrorism tools."
The actual defense spending bill, which passed 315 to 109, will provide the Pentagon with over $500 billion for arms and personnel, and another $85 billion to the military in Afghanistan. But the bill has drawn a veto threat from the White House, which claims that the total would involve cuts to other federal programs.
Here's what the American people are saying — on Twitter, at least:
Meanwhile, in spite of the buzz suggesting that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was free to leave Moscow Airport's transit lounge, the fugitive remains stuck without clearance to enter Russia. But he has been given a change of clothes (his first since landing nearly a month ago)...and a book.
The book? Crime and Punishment.
You can't make this stuff up.