Obama: 'Heaven forbid' a terrorist attack happens after Senate inaction on Patriot Act


© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama (R) speaks following a meeting with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House on May 29, 2015, in Washington, DC.

President Barack Obama sounded the alarm about what could happen if there is a delay in renewing the USA Patriot Act.

"I don't want us to be in a situation in which, for a certain period of time, those authorities go away and suddenly we are dark, and heaven forbid, we've got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn't do so simply because of inaction in the Senate," Obama told reporters Friday after meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the White House.

The USA Patriot Act, a post-9/11 law, is set to expire Sunday at midnight. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, tried to get the law renewed, as well as get passage of the USA Freedom Act, intended to address concerns about the National Security Agency bulk data gathering.

However, Paul, speaking for 10 hours on the Senate floor last Friday, blocked either bill from coming to a vote in the Senate.

"So I have indicated to Leader McConnell and other senators, I expect them to take action and take action swiftly," Obama continued. "That's what the American people deserve. This is not an issue in which we have to choose between security and civil liberties. This is an issue in which we in fact have struck the right balance."