In a statement after the vote, Leahy said, "Momentum is on the side of surveillance reform. The USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 is a true bipartisan compromise. I would prefer more reforms as anyone can see from previous versions of the bill that I have introduced. Other Senators would prefer more dragnet surveillance. The USA FREEDOM Act achieves the important goal of ending the NSA's bulk collection program while ensuring the intelligence community's capabilities. Senate Republicans have an opportunity to avoid brinkmanship on this important national security issue. The Senate should take up and pass the USA FREEDOM Act." The bill now heads to the Senate.
Sanders said he was proud of the Vermont Air National Guard. "The F-35, whether one may like it or not, is the plane of choice not only for the U.S. Air Force, but for the Navy, Marines and much of NATO," Sanders said in a statement issued by his Washington office. "If the F-35 ends up not being located here, it will end up at a National Guard base in Florida or South Carolina. I would rather it be here."
Opponents say the planes, which are noisier than the F-16s they will replace, could erode the quality of life along the flight path. Sanders said the neighbors had legitimate concerns about the noise and that he and other members of the delegation would do all they could to minimize the problem, should the Air Force decide to base the planes in Vermont.
MacGovern said he was strong on defense and supported the role of the National Guard in Vermont and the nation, but the upcoming decision that could result in the planes being based in Vermont would be bad for the community and the military because the planes are so noisy they could disrupt lives and drive down property values.
"I believe one needs to look at this matter with the cold, sober facts, not emotion, not partisanship, what is in the best interests of this community here, but also this country," he said. "It's not in the public interest to have the F-35 at the Burlington International Airport." He said it could be bad for the military because of the restrictions placed on pilots to minimize the noise of the planes. Sanders disagreed.
Tarrant says the security of the country has to be one of the highest priorities in a time of war. Tarrant says, “I think it’s a matter of balance. I don’t want to lose all rights but I’d be willing to sacrifice some rights for security. Two aspects of the Constitution that are seemingly at odds. It’s a good thing to publicly debate that.” Tarrant admits that the war on terrorism is different from previous conflicts and he says it may be difficult to know exactly when the war has been won.
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