US Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul says he will force the expiration of the controversial Patriot Act used by the NSA as a legal basis for spying on people.
Signed into law by former President George W. Bush, USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress that followed September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
The Patriot Act allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect any telephone and business records relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.
The law is expiring at midnight Sunday and the Senate is scheduled to hold a rare session on Sunday to discuss it.
"There has to be another way. We will find it together,'' Paul said in a message posted on his Twitter account on Saturday.
“I do not do this to obstruct. I do it to build something better, more effective, more lasting, and more cognizant of who we are," he said in another Twitter message.
US President Barack Obama has called on Congress to renew legislation which allows the NSA to continue its controversial phone records collection.
"I expect them to take action, and take action swiftly," Obama said on Friday.
Obama warned that inaction to extend key Patriot Act provisions, which can extend the program for two months, could hinder counterterrorism efforts by the NSA.
He said that there are only a “handful of senators” who are blocking the extension of those provisions.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the NSA to collect any telephone and business records relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.
The section, which expires at midnight on May 31, was rejected by the Senate on May 23. The vote was 45-54, which fell short of the 60-vote threshold.
The data collected by the NSA includes phone numbers and duration of a call without its content or personally identifying information.
Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, disclosed the extent of the agency’s spying activities in June 2013.
He leaked classified intelligence documents showing massive collections of phone records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.