Today’s House Floor Schedule includes possible consideration of the Senate’s amended version of H.R. 514 . The Hill reports that the rule for considering the Senate bill is likely to be passed today, with the vote either today or tomorrow.
The Senate Judiciary will consider Sen. Leahy’s S. 193 (The USA Patriot Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011) on Thursday (Feb. 17th) at 10:00am. Watch for details on our blog, our Facebook group, and Twitter! Here’s Senator Leahy’s statement on the 3-month extension that passed the Senate:
The bill I introduced on January 26, and that the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider this week, is based on the bill the Judiciary Committee considered and passed with a bipartisan majority last Congress. It includes additional adjustments made at Senator Kyl’s suggestion after the Committee reported the bill in 2009. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to report that legislation again, and I will urge the Senate to consider and pass the improvements to the USA PATRIOT Act that we have proposed, during this short, additional three-month extension.
The ACLU’s reaction to yesterday’s Senate vote:
Every day that Congress continues to push back the February expiration deadline, the Patriot Act continues to erode one of Americans’ most basic rights – the freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into their privacy. If there has to be an extension of this law, we urge Congress to use the time well to finally rein in the pernicious impact of the intrusive provisions at stake.
In the LA Times, Lisa Mascero gives the political context
Senate Democrats are hoping to avoid interjecting the national security issue into the 2012 presidential campaign by sending their bill to the Republican-led House, which earlier this week overcame opposition from conservative lawmakers to pass an extension through Dec. 8.”
CBS news quotes Dianne Feinstein (whose S.289 is one of the bills the Senate is considering)
“It’s very important that it not expire. It gives us more time because there are three different bills and a lot of stuff going on and you can’t sort it out. So this will give some time.”
Saxby Chambliss, top ranking Repbublican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, adds
“We’re talking about a ninety day extension to give us time to bring it up for full debate on the floor. Obviously we don’t have time to do that before the end of the week. As of right now I have no qualms with doing that.”
But from the inception of the Patriot Act in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the increased surveillance powers have been subject to scrutiny and criticism from both conservatives and liberals who say they violate free speech rights and rights against unwarranted searches and seizures….
’We knew we were in a very emotional state’ after the attacks, said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. He said the provisions give the government access to sensitive personal records such as medical, library and gun records, and ‘can lead to government fishing expeditions that target,
unfortunately, innocent Americans.’
And in Rand Paul vs. the PATRIOT Act, in The Atlantic, Chris Good quotes Sen. Paul’s letter to his colleagues:
I object to these warrantless searches being performed on United States citizens. I object to the 200,000 NSL searches that have been performed without a judge’s warrant.
I object to over 2 million searches of bank records, called Suspicious Activity Reports, performed on U.S. citizens without a judge’s warrant.
PS: thanks to Patrick for the links and summaries, and @threeifbybike for the tweetable list of Senate nays. To stay in touch with the latest news, check out our blog, our Facebook group, and the #patriotact hashtag on twitter!