Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is asking his fellow Republicans to block a bill that would curtail the government's domestic spying powers. In fact, he doesn't even want the Senate to talk about the measure.
In a statement Tuesday, McConnell said he "strongly opposes" the USA Freedom Act because it would hamper the U.S.'s ability to combat the rising threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
"This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our backs. The threat from ISIL is real," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement, using a different name to refer to the Islamic State. "It's different from what we've faced before. And if we're going to overcome it—if our aim is to degrade and destroy ISIL, as the president has said—then that's going to require smart policies and firm determination."
McConnell is "actively whipping" his caucus to not allow the measure sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to advance Tuesday, according to a Republican Senate aide who favors Leahy's legislation. The aide suggested that McConnell preferred separate legislation offered by Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, the panel's top Republican.