An exasperated White House on Tuesday ratcheted up pressure on the Senate to pass surveillance-reform legislation before intelligence tools considered crucial to national security expire at the end of the month—while appearing to throw a direct barb at Sen. Rand Paul for gumming up the process.
Though he didn’t call out Paul by name, White House press secretary Josh Earnest seemed to accuse the Kentucky senator of using the debate over the Patriot Act’s sunsetting spying powers to bolster his presidential campaign.
“At some point, the political ambitions of individual members of the United States Senate are going to have to come second to the national security of the United States,” Earnest said.
Earnest’s comments come after the Senate failed to forge a path forward on dealing with the June 1 sunset of the Patriot Act’s spy provisions following a late-night round of votes Friday night into Saturday morning. Those authorities include the controversial Section 215, which the National Security Agency uses to justify its bulk collection of U.S. call data.