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May 25, 2011 09:12 PM UTC

Udall's PATRIOT Act Goal Line Stand

  • 1 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel reports:

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall will vote against extending the Patriot Act this week unless Congress makes several key changes, he said Tuesday.

Udall, D-Colo., voted against the original Patriot Act in the days after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I thought then that it was being rushed through the Congress,” Udall said. “Ten years later, I have the same concerns.”

…Under his plan, police could view business records only if they can prove a connection to terrorism, and Congress would have to be told about lone-wolf investigations. Roving wiretaps would be allowed only if the target is present.

But Udall is not sure if Senate leaders will allow him to offer the amendments this week. Congressional leaders want to pass the bill in time for President Barack Obama to sign this weekend.

“I gotta tell you, it feels like leadership is rushing the process again,” Udall said. “We’ve known for months and months that this was on our to-do list for this Congress.” [Pols emphasis]

According to the Colorado Independent, Mark Udall’s push to amend the PATRIOT Act before this four-year extension is already over after a lopsided vote to block further debate. So it will be reauthorized quickly and quietly, coming up again in 2015–but Udall’s last words on the matter before he runs for re-election in 2014, we predict, won’t be a liability for him.

For what it’s worth, knowing what we know about Udall, we take his expressed frustration at the sudden ramming through of this extension, and the perfunctory blocking of his amendments by Majority Leader Harry Reid, at face value. Deadline or no deadline, this isn’t the way the “contemplative body” of the Senate is supposed to do its work, and he’s right to say so.

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