The U.S. Senate passed a massive $886 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund the Pentagon and other military expenditures for the next fiscal year.

The annual defense policy bill passed in a 87-13 vote, as six Republicans and six Democrats opposed the legislation.

“Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also opposed it,” The Hill writes.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to pass.

The NDAA includes an amendment to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which gives the federal government the power to conduct warrantless spying on foreigners abroad and Americans they interact with.

Section 702 was set to expire at the end of the year, but the extension pushes the expiration date back to April 19th.

“The Senate just voted to waive the point of order against the NDAA. 35 of us opposed the motion to waive. We needed only 41 to prevent this outcome, and to remove FISA 702 from the NDAA. This is not good. The House should stop the NDAA,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said.

“It was close in the Senate, but now it’s up to the House tomorrow to stop the reauthorization of warrantless spying on Americans,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) commented.

The Washington Times reports:

Sen. Rand Paul failed to strip the reauthorization of the government’s chief surveillance power from the annual Pentagon policy spending bill Wednesday night as a bipartisan group of lawmakers fell six votes short.

His motion was quashed 65-35.

Sens. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, and Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, attempted to whip enough votes to persuade the 41 lawmakers needed to remove from the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act a four-month extension of the spy power.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the federal government the power to spy on foreigners abroad and is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

Mr. Lee planned to propose legislation that would have forced a separate debate on extending FISA and its Section 702 spy powers rather than combining it with the NDAA.

Critics say the spying tool threatens constitutional rights when FBI or U.S. intelligence officials sift through the data, without a warrant, looking for dirt on Americans.

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National security hawks cite the need to fend off global terrorist threats should take precedence.

“By 6 votes, the Senate just forced through a violation of your constitutional rights. Now all eyes turn to the House. They will put it to a vote TOMORROW. Call your representative, because this is your last chance. Tell them,” Edward Snowden said.

“I’ll do my best to stop this madness in the House tomorrow. Why don’t our colleagues want to stop a mass government surveillance campaign on Americans?” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) commented.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald had a breakdown of the vote:

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Antiwar.com noted:

The passage of the NDAA comes as the Biden administration is struggling to get Republicans to support a massive $111 billion supplemental spending package that includes military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. But Republicans are holding out until Democrats agree to significant changes in US border policies, and the bill might not be passed until 2024.

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