May 31, 2015 / 8:19 PM / 5 years ago

Boehner urges U.S. Senate to pass surveillance reform bill

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives urged the U.S. Senate on Sunday to pass the USA Freedom Act, a bill that reforms an expiring domestic surveillance program, and do so “expeditiously.”

House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement warning of the danger of letting the surveillance program expire shortly before the Senate began a rare Sunday session addressing how to deal with the issue.

“Al Qaeda, ISIL (Islamic State) and other terrorists around the globe continue to plot attacks on America and our allies,” Boehner said. “Anyone who is satisfied with letting this critical intelligence capability go dark isn’t taking the terrorist threat seriously,” Boehner said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the Senate back to Washington to deal with the expiration of three provisions of the USA Patriot Act, including Section 215, used to justify the National Security Agency’s collection of billions of Americans’ telephone call records.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Walsh

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