Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Saturday that he would block the Senate from passing an extension of the Patriot Act, which is set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
"Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people," Paul said in a statement Saturday that was first reported by Politico. "So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program."
Paul also opposes the USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan bill that passed the House. The legislation would reauthorize key provisions in the Patriot Act, but require the government to stop collecting and storing the bulk metadata from phone records of Americans, and transition over six months to a system in which it must ask telecommunications companies for that data instead. The bill did not earn enough votes in the Senate to move to a final vote last week.
Politico reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was likely to move to another vote on the bill on Sunday.
If the Patriot Act expires, the government will no longer be able to force telecommunication companies to hand over bulk call records with little cause. It's unclear what will happen to all of the information that has already been collected.