Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) arrive for a Senate Finance Committee hearing concerning fiscal year 2018 budget proposals for the Department of Treasury and tax reform, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) arrive for a Senate Finance Committee hearing concerning fiscal year 2018 budget proposals for the Department of Treasury and tax reform, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

These 18 Senate Democrats Just Voted to Hand Trump Mass Spying Powers

"Members of both parties who voted in favor of this legislation should be sharply rebuked for supporting a bill that is in flagrant violation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution."

Jake Johnson

Senate Democrats had an opportunity Tuesday night to block legislation that places expanded warrantless spying powers into the hands of President Donald Trump—who they have frequently criticized as a deranged authoritarian—but 18 Democrats opted instead to do the opposite, providing the decisive votes in favor of a cloture motion that essentially ensures the bill's passage this week.

While many viewed the Senate's approval of cloture as a sure thing, a bit of drama ensued Tuesday night as the motion was two votes shy of the necessary 60 with two senators—John Kennedy (R-La.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)—left to vote. 

But after Kennedy opted to vote in favor of the motion, McCaskill quickly followed with a yes vote of her own—giving the Republican majority enough votes to kill debate on the the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (S.139), block any possible privacy amendments, and clear its path to the Senate floor.

In total, 18 Democratic senators—as well as Angus King (I-Maine)—voted with Republicans to move the widely denounced bill forward.

The 18 Democrats were: Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Joe Manchin (W.V.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Warner (Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.).

Civil liberties groups were quick to condemn every senator who cast a vote in favor of legislation that, if passed, will renew Section 702 of FISA, which allows the government to spy on the electronic communications of Americans and foreigners without a warrant.

"Members of both parties who voted in favor of this legislation should be sharply rebuked for supporting a bill that is in flagrant violation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution," ACLU declared on Twitter following Tuesday's vote. "Instead of instituting much needed reforms and safeguards, Senators supported legislation that would give spying powers to an administration that has time and time again demonstrated its disregard for civil rights and civil liberties."

The Senate's vote on Tuesday came just a week after 65 House Democrats momentarily dropped their skepticism of Trump's mental capacity and voted to gift him and Attorney General Jeff Sessions the ability to conduct mass surveillance of Americans with little oversight.

What follows is a full list of the senators who voted in favor of the cloture motion Tuesday night. (Ten of the Democrats on the list are up for reelection in November.)


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

AOC Slams Conservative Dems Who Would Rather Skip Town Than Vote to Extend Eviction Ban

"We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have the majority."

Jake Johnson ·


'A Devastating Failure': Eviction Ban Expires as House Goes on Vacation and Biden Refuses to Act

"We’re now in an eviction emergency," said Rep. Cori Bush. "Eleven million are now at risk of losing their homes at any moment. The House needs to reconvene and put an end to this crisis."

Jake Johnson ·


With Election Days Away, Bernie Sanders Headlines Get-Out-the-Vote Rally for Nina Turner

In his keynote speech, Sanders said corporate interests are pulling out all the stops to defeat Turner because "they know that when she is elected, she is going to stand up and take them on in the fight for justice."

Jake Johnson ·


Bush, Pressley, and Omar Sleep Outside Capitol to Demand Extension of Eviction Moratorium

Rep. Cori Bush, who was formerly unhoused, slammed her Democratic colleagues who "chose to go on vacation early today rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes."

Jake Johnson ·


As Progressives Call for End to Blockade, Biden Announces More Sanctions Against Cuba

The move comes after Democratic leadership in the House blocked an amendment to roll back limits on how much money people in the United States can send to family on the island nation.

Jessica Corbett ·