WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers said Sunday that they would push for more oversight of the National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. phone calling records.
"It's clear that the sentiment is growing for oversight," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat.
The idea that the NSA is collecting the phone records of everyone "on the off chance" that someone may be a suspect at a later time "goes way too far," Durbin said on ABC's This Week.
The House last week came close to approving a measure to curtail the program in a vote that scrambled the usual political alliances of Republican libertarians and Democratic liberals.
On Sunday, Republican Reps. Mike Rogers of Michigan and Peter King of New York defended the program as a critical tool in the war on terrorism.
"Remember terrorists now use the same communication systems in America that we do," Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS's Face the Nation.
King, appearing on CNN's State of the Union, called it "absolutely disgraceful" that so many Republicans voted to defund the surveillance program, "which has done so much to protect our country."
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., called the bulk collection of U.S. phone calls an invasion of privacy. "The NSA is literally collecting every phone record of every American every day," he said on CBS. "We don't need to do this to fight an effective war against terrorism."