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East Bay Congressman Says Letting Patriot Act Expire This Month Would Be A Mistake

PLEASANTON (KCBS)— Unless there's an 11th-hour deal, sections of the Patriot Act is set to expire at the end of this month. An East Bay Congressman is concerned about what that could mean for national security.

The National Security Agency has reportedly already started winding down some controversial surveillance programs since lawmakers have yet to agree on an extension of the Patriot Act.

Among the practices set to expire is the bulk collection of American phone records and a provision that allows the government to demand businesses turn over their customers' documents. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D- Dublin, says he voted for a bill, the USA Freedom Act, that was approved by the House that would reform the Act.

"Still collect the information that we need to collect to track foreign terrorists, but it will end the domestic bulk collection project that the NSA was undertaking, meaning that no longer will millions of Americans have their cell phone records downloaded every day," he said.

But Swalwell says the bill has stalled in the Senate.

"If they do not act within the next few days, the Patriot Act will expire completely and we will be flying blind and have no understanding of what the threat is to the United States by outsiders."

The Senate is not expected to reconvene until May 31st while the Patriot Act is set to expire at midnight that same day.

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