The House GOP leadership allowed only 40 minutes of debate on the extension of certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act today, and brought the bill up for a vote under a rule allowing no amendments and requiring two-thirds of the body to vote YES in order for it to pass.
The House measure which was sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) failed on a 277-to-148 vote. Twenty-six Republicans voted with 122 Democrats to oppose the measure, while 67 Democrats voted with 210 Republicans to back it. Ten members did not vote.
The measure would have extended three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire on Monday, Feb. 28, unless Congress moves to reauthorize them. One of the provisions authorizes the FBI to continue using roving wiretaps on surveillance targets; the second allows the government to access “any tangible items,” such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and the third is a “lone wolf” provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act that allows for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group
Here are those who voted NO.
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson, E. B.
Sánchez, Linda T.
Kucinich Leads Opposition to PATRIOT Act Reauthorization
by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
February 8, 2011
Remember the American Revolution: “We didn’t hear ‘give me liberty’ or give me a wiretap. We didn’t hear ‘don’t tread on me… but its okay to spy.’”
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today took to the floor of the House to oppose the effort to reauthorize expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act.
During the debate, Kucinich invoked the Constitution, the image of Gadsden Flag and the motto ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ in an appeal to members of the Tea Party. “It is time we really remember what the essence of that motto ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ really means. It means you protect your liberty. You stand for freedom,” said Kucinich.
Video of Kucinich’s statements are available here and here. [see below]
Kucinich, of whom Congressman John Conyers said “no one has worked on this issue more closely,” cited our Constitutional experience and our need for Constitutional protections.
“We are all patriots here and we all want America to be protected but we have to remember our Constitutional experience … We didn’t hear ‘give me liberty or give me a wiretap.’ We didn’t hear ‘don’t tread on me… but its okay to spy.’ What we heard was a ringing declaration for freedom. And it was enshrined in our Constitution,” declared Kucinich.
Kucinich continued by criticizing abuses of the intent of the PATRIOT Act, saying that government can “reach into financial records, medical records and our reading materials. What is happening to our country? Why are we giving up our basic liberties? We need to take a stand here and this is as good a day as any to take a stand.
“Many Members of Congress, including those supported by my friends in the Tea Party, maintain their goal is to get rid of big government, to get the government out of their lives. … Some want to get government out of health care, some want to get government out of retirement security. How about getting government out of people’s bedrooms? Out of people’s financial records and people’s medical records? Vote no,” said Kucinich.
Provisions which had been set to expire include Section 206, known as the “John Doe Wiretap.” It allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to wiretap a target without having to specify the target or the device.
The second provision, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, known as the “Business Records” provision allows the FBI to order any person or business to turn over “any tangible things” as long as it specifies it is for “an authorized investigation.” Orders executed under Section 215 constitute a serious violation of Fourth and First Amendment rights by allowing the government to demand access to records often associated with the exercise of First Amendment rights, such as library records or medical records.
The third provision, Section 6001, known as the “Lone Wolf” surveillance provision is contained in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 authorizes the government to conduct investigations of non-U.S. individuals not connected to a foreign power or terrorist group. It effectively allows the government to circumvent the standards that are required to obtain electronic surveillance orders from criminal courts.
Kucinich Opens Debate on PATRIOT Act Reauthorization
“Give Me Liberty Or Give Me A Wiretap!” Dennis Kucinich
Kucinich Statement after House Blocks Extensions of Certain Provisions of the PATRIOT Act
by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
February 8, 2011
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a leading advocate for the repeal of the PATRIOT Act and a leader of the opposition to today’s reauthorization of certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act, released the following statement after the House of Representatives failed to pass an extension under the suspension of the rules which requires a two-thirds majority. The measure failed to receive a two-thirds vote and was defeated this evening:
“The defeat of the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, under the suspension of the rules, signals the potential for a new coalition. Twenty-six Republicans joined one hundred and twenty-two Democrats to block passage, forcing a new debate on these critical questions of privacy and civil liberties. It was thought that reauthorization would be non-controversial, which is why it was placed under a suspension of the rules, but the fact that it failed to get the two-thirds vote required indicates that it is controversial. This is a surprising development and it will lead to more debate about the PATRIOT Act. I credit Conservative Republicans, Libertarians and members of the Tea Party for standing by their beliefs and thank my fellow Democrats for providing one of the first major challenges to the PATRIOT Act.
“It is expected that the bill will be brought up again, but the opposition has now surfaced. I look forward to working with this new coalition to continue to rally support to defeat the PATRIOT Act,” said Kucinich.