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Keep calm and carry on spying on Americans, US politicos tell NSA

House of Reps narrowly reject bid to axe spooks' funding

The US House of Representatives narrowly voted down a legal amendment that would have cut off funds to the NSA's homeland spying operations.

The tally came to 217 against versus 205 in favour of the amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that would have limited the US spook agency's ability to snoop on Americans' telephone calls and other communications.

The defeat was a win for the Obama administration, which was resolutely against the measure, calling it a "blunt approach that is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process".

However, the closeness of the vote suggested that the issue isn't over yet, according to lobby groups Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, which ran a "Defund the NSA" campaign backing the amendment. They said that the "tide was turning against domestic surveillance" and urged supporters to continue badgering their representatives.

Michigan representative Justin Amash (R), who proposed the money-axing amendment, tweeted that friends and colleagues had stuck with him and "changed the dynamic of the debate with tonight's close vote".

"Congress has deservedly low approval ratings, but I have so many incredible colleagues I'm thankful for and proud of," he said.

Congressman Amash also tweeted, immediately after the vote:

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