US Surveillance, Syria At Issue on Defense Bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Limits on secret U.S. surveillance programs and President Barack Obama’s push to help Syrian rebels are in dispute as the House weighs legislation to fund the nation’s military.
The House planned to begin debate Tuesday on the nearly $600 billion defense spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats insisted that debate on the bill include amendments changing the way the National Security Agency conducts its recently disclosed program of collecting phone records of millions of Americans. The same unusual coalition joined forces on amendments barring the administration from arming the Syrian rebels without congressional approval.
Republican leaders struggled to limit amendments on the overall bill, concerned about hampering the president’s national security and anti-terrorism efforts.