February 16 PATRIOT Act news update

The Senate passed a three month extension.  The vote was 86-12.  Sens. Baucus, Begich, Brown, Harkin, Lautenberg, Lee, Merkley, Murray, Paul, Sanders, Tester, Udall voted “Nay”.

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.”

AP gives some historical context:

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.

Yeah really.


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!


One Response to February 16 PATRIOT Act news update

  1. jonpincus says:

    Here’s the action items between now and the meeting:

    everybody: please try out http://hipchat.com/gFmr7kpZI and see if it works
    Patrick: set up Facebook event and invite the group
    ?: Post the http://bit.ly/feb16news news update to the Facebook group’s wall
    Everybody on Facebook: go to the wall, like and share what you find there. and once you get the event invation, pass it on to friends who are interested
    ?: A blog post about the SJC hearing.
    ?: Post it to the Facebook group’s wall and send it to the myBO group once it’s up
    Everybody on Twitter: watch for other important tweets and retweet them. Please start with these:

    RT @GetFISARight: Today’s #patriotact news: http://bit.ly/feb16news and http://paper.li/tag/patriotact #tcot #teaparty #p2

    RT @threeifbybike: #Patriot Act Nays:Baucus, Begich, Brown, Harkin, Lautenberg, Lee, Merkley, Murray, Paul, Sanders, Tester, Udall #tcot #p2

    RT @theatlantic: Rand Paul vs. The #PATRIOTAct: http://theatln.tc/gaQuGR #p2 #tcot #teaparty

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