On Thursday, a bill that would overhaul the Patriot Act and curtail the so-called metadata surveillance exposed by Edward J. Snowden was overwhelmingly passed by the House Judiciary Committee and was heading to almost certain passage in that chamber this month.
An identical bill in the Senate — introduced with the support of five Republicans — is gaining support over the objection of Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who is facing the prospect of his first policy defeat since ascending this year to majority leader.
"I don't think he's listening to America," Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah and a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, said of Mr. McConnell. "The seminal question is how much liberty are we going to give up for security? People are on the brink. They're scared out of their wits."