Conservatives in Minnesota's U.S. House delegation helped defeat proposal to restrict how the National Security Agency collects telephone records.
Aimed at reining in the National Security Agency's phone data collection program, the amendment would have prevented the NSA from using the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of people who are not under investigation.
Lawmakers voted 217 to 205 to reject the proposal. Under current law, the agency gathers the phone records of people in the United States, including the numbers people dial.
Republican U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Erik Paulsen along with conservative Democrat Collin Peterson voted against the amendment. Democrats Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz supported the plan.
The Obama administration lobbied against the proposal, arguing that it would dismantle an surveillance tool that's helped save lives and thwart terrorist attacks.
Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the agency's data collection, the White House and some conservative Republicans, including Bachmann, have banded together to defend the program.
The Senate on Wednesday blocked an expansion of the government's power to investigate suspected terrorists, a victory for civil libertarians and privacy advocates emboldened after a National Security Agency contractor's revelations forced changes in how the communications of Americans are monitored.
Struggling to salvage a massive surveillance program, President Barack Obama faced congressional critics of the National Security Agency's collection of Americans' telephone records Thursday as snowballing concerns made new limitations on the intelligence effort appear increasingly likely.
The Obama administration faced a breakdown in confidence Sunday from key foreign allies who threatened investigations and sanctions against the U.S. over secret surveillance programs that reportedly installed covert listening devices in European Union offices.