A bipartisan proposal to protect citizens’ internet search and browsing history from warrantless government surveillance died in the Senate on Wednesday. It lost by just one vote. The culprits? Ten Democratic senators voted against it and four senators didn’t bother voting at all. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who is quarantining from the coronavirus, Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) did not vote, according to the roll call. Democrats who joined Republicans in defeating the amendment included Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Joe Manchin, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Carper, and Bob Casey, Jr. It was voted 59-37, just shy of the 60-vote passage threshold.
The amendment, authored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), sought to restrict a House-approved bill that reauthorizes now-expired surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act. It would have required the FBI get a warrant to seize internet users’ web browsing and search histories. In arguing for the bill, Wyden said Americans “deserve some measure of privacy” and, without the amendment, it’s “open season on anybody’s most personal information.”