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Obama Urges US Senate to Renew Phone-Records Program

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg,Oval Office, White House, Washington, May 26, 2015.

President Barack Obama is urging the Senate to renew the government's power to search Americans' telephone records, saying public safety demands it.

Barring a last-minute compromise when the Senate returns for a rare Sunday session, that specific provision of federal law will expire at midnight May 31.

The Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly passed the White House-backed USA Freedom Act that would end bulk collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency but preserve its ability to search the records held by the phone companies on a case-by-case basis.

Senate Republicans blocked that bill before leaving town for a holiday weekend.

Obama urged Senate lawmakers to work through their weeklong break to "identify a way to get this done."

He commented Tuesday after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.