As lawmakers debate Patriot Act renewal, Senate Republicans propose preserving the status quo

With weeks to go before a key surveillance law expires, key Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would allow the National Security Agency to continue collecting the calling records of nearly every American.

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The bill by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr would bypass Senate committees and reauthorize sections of the Patriot Act, including the provision under which the NSA is requiring phone companies to turn over the "to and from" records of most landline calls.

In the wake of disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, President Obama and many lawmakers have called for ending that collection.

House members are set to introduce legislation later Wednesday that would accomplish that goal, but its chances of passage are unclear.