The US Senate controlled by the Republican Party has blocked a House bill that would have ended bulk collection of domestic phone records by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Friday's vote was 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. It leaves the fate of key provisions of the Patriot Act in doubt with a June 1 deadline less than two weeks away.
The House of Representatives had overwhelmingly passed the USA Freedom Act last week. The measure would authorise case-by-case searches of records held by phone companies instead of the government.
It also would extend two other expiring surveillance provisions used frequently by the FBI.
There was outrage after government's surveillance programme was leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.
As part of the spy programme known as PRISM, the NSA tracked private American citizens' phone calls, emails, and spied on allied countries and foreign companies alike.
In March last year, President Barack Obama proposed an end to the government's bulk collection of telephone metadata in the wake of the revelation.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies