Patriot Act Extension Fails in House Vote

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26 Republicans voted against their party today, contributing to the defeat of the House Bill that would have extended provisions of the controversial Patriot Act, which are due to expire at the end of February.

The Washington Post has the story

House Republicans suffered an embarrassing setback Tuesday when they fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party’s tea-party bloc.

The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures.

More after the jump.

The provisions of the Patriot act in question are:

1. Authorize the FBI to use roving wiretaps on surveillance targets;

2. Allow the government to access “any tangible items,” such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and

3. Allow for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

While President Obama supports the extension of these provisions, the vast majority of the opposition has come from House Democrats, who continue to complain that the Patriot Act represents an unacceptable intrusion into civil liberties gauranteed by the US Constitution.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has presented an occasionally lonely opposition to the Patriot Act, said that Tuesday’s vote demonstrated that he now had company from more than two dozen Republicans who support the Bill of Rights. “The Patriot Act represents the undermining of civil liberties,” Kucinich said after the vote. Republicans “brought [the bill] forward not knowing the votes.”

House leaders rejected that analysis. “Democrats in Congress voted to deny their own administration’s request for key weapons in the war on terror,” said Erica Elliott, spokeswoman for Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

This does not mean the end of the Patriot Act or even these select setions of it. House Republican leaders are already preparing to find a way to pass the measures with only a simple majority instead of a super majority, and the Senate is considering its own approach to the question as well.

But as February 28 draws near, watch for this debate to get a lot more heated.

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12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    on this issue. Good for them. Obama’s wrong on this one. Those provisions need to expire.  

    • redstateblues says:

      he joined the Republican delegation (sans Lamborn, who didn’t vote) in voting for the bill.

      • nancycronk says:

        He told me this:

        He’s been involved with Patriot Act Legislation because he thinks Dems needed to  input on it, too.

        His involvement was in 3 of 17 areas, which he said he thought desperately needed democratic reform. He insisted on the government needing legal warrants before searches.

        The rest of it was only to go into effect until May of this year, and he thought that was reasonable.

        Since I had his ear for ten minutes, I might get some more answers if I need them. I can try. Questions?

  2. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    All the attention here is focused on the 26 Republicans who crossed over, but the Democrats who voted “no” deserve kudos, too. The Democratic President supported this extension, and it takes some balls to go up against Obama as a Democrat.

    Disappointed in Perlmutter, though he’s still my favorite Congressman.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        It’s still supposedly scheduled for 2/12, location and time TBA, on his house.gov site. Jeffco Dems’ reorganization meeting is that day, too, and he usually shows at least briefly for that, so my guess would be that he’ll do somewhere in central Jeffco. Doubt he’ll call it off at the last minute–it’s not like him–but he might, I suppose, if he can’t find a location comfortable with it? Or maybe he just wants to announce at the very last minute so that as much as possible attendees are really just people there for groceries and surprised to see him, rather than everyone and their cousin with a bone to pick with him.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        Wonder if it’s so he can make it to speak at reorg? I hope so, I haven’t seen Ed in FOREVER!

  3. It’s just that it now has to do so under normal House rules, which allow Representatives to offer amendments or motions to recommit, along with a debate period.

  4. ScottP says:

    The only one I’m on the fence about is the roving wiretaps. Other than that, the other provisions can go.

  5. Ray Springfield says:

    This is a victory.  

  6. Gypsy Chief says:

    with the GOP house leadership. So, he should have to pay a price. I wrote ‘Gardner betrays small goverment roots – votes to support Obama Justice dept’ … that is part of the record. They can vote however they want to but that’s how to hold ’em accountable imo.

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