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PATRIOT ACT extension passes Senate

PATRIOT ACT extension passes Senate, heads to Obama’s desk

United Liberty
February 16, 2011

A day after the House passed a short-term extension of the USA PATRIOT act, the Senate followed suit, passing the controversial without much opposition:

    The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would extend through May three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire later this month. The move is designed to buy time for lawmakers to fully debate and hold hearings on the controversial counterterrorism surveillance law.

    The bill passed on an 86-to-12-vote, with two senators not voting. Most lawmakers from both parties voted in favor of the measure, but the opposition was also bipartisan; among the dozen lawmakers voting against it were nine Democrats, two Republicans and one independent.
    […]
    The Senate had been considering several different proposals that would have extended the Patriot Act provisions permanently or through 2013. But given the time constraints — both chambers are in recess next week — Senate leaders agreed to a short-term extension through May 27 to give Congress more time to work toward a longer-term reauthorization.

    On the Senate floor Tuesday evening, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who had already announced his opposition to extending the Patriot Act provisions, denounced the law as an infringement of civil liberties.

    “Now we have essentially government agents, akin to soldiers, writing warrants; it’s ripe for abuse,” said Paul, a libertarian-leaning freshman and the son of one of the Patriot Act’s most outspoken critics, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

The extension will now head to President Barack Obama’s desk. Members of Congress will hold hearings on the PATRIOT Act, a law that has documented abuses by federal authorities.

The only Republicans to vote against extension were Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), both freshman. Paul announced his opposition to the PATRIOT Act a few days in advance of the vote. He also recorded this video explaining his vote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSDBswx90Cs

 

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House Clears Path For PATRIOT ACT Extension

House Clears Path For Extension Of Government Spying On American Citizens

Steve Watson
Prisonplanet.com
February 11, 2011

Two days after proposals to extend provisions of the draconian PATRIOT Act failed to attract a super majority in a fast track vote, another vote in the House of representatives has cleared the way for the smooth passage of the legislation.

Last night’s vote put in to place a new rule that will allow the legislation to be passed by just a simple majority. It is expected that the House will vote again on the legislation next week, and that it will easily pass.

Earlier in the week, House Republicans had attempted to suspend House rules and pass the extension with limited debate and no amendments. That fell 7 votes short because a 2/3rds majority was required.

Last night’s ballot saw 248 vote in favour of allowing the extension to proceed, while 176 voted against.

Just four Republicans, including Congressman Ron Paul, voted against the extension. On Tuesday 26 Republicans had voted against. The other three Republican nays were Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Raul Labrador (Idaho) and Tom McClintock (Calif.).

Several representatives who ran on a Tea Party platform of restoring civil liberties also voted in favour of the legislation, following a lecture by Homeland Security Head Janet Napolitano, who told the congressional oversight panel that the nation faces a “heightened” terror threat, the like of which has not been seen since 9/11.

Meanwhile, 172 Democrats voted against proceeding Thursday, up from the 148 who voted against the measure on Tuesday.

Excluding the 15 who voted for the extension, Democrats protested the Republican attempt to hold the vote under the “closed rule”. Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) said Republicans were practicing “unique trickery” by calling the bill back for a second vote.

“We have a right to have a voice and that voice has already been expressed,” said Lee. “What more needs to be said?”

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PATRIOT ACT FAILS: Obama Wanted 3 Year Extension

 



PATRIOT ACT FAILS: Obama Wanted 3 Year Extension

PATRIOT ACT FAILS: Obama Wanted 3 Year Extension

Raw Story
February 9, 2011

Faced with a looming vote on a planned one-year extension of special powers authorized in the USA PATRIOT Act, the Obama White House did not object or propose reforms, as the president vowed to do as a candidate.

The Obama administration instead asked Congress to grant those powers for an additional three years.

As a US Senator and candidate for the presidency, Barack Obama never actually argued for a repeal of the Bush administration’s security initiatives. Instead, he’s consistently argued for enhanced judicial oversight and a pullback on the most extreme elements of the bill, such as the use of National Security Letters to search people’s personal records without a court-issued warrant.

While many in his own party opposed the PATRIOT Act outright, as president Obama has said repeatedly that the emergency measures remain a valuable tool for law enforcement engaged in national security prerogatives.

On Tuesday, ahead of a House vote to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act for another year, the White House did something unexpected: they asked for even more.

A prepared statement issued Tuesday afternoon said that President Obama “would strongly prefer enactment of reauthorizing legislation that would extend these authorities until December 2013.”

The move was likely aimed at avoiding the potential conflation of national security legislation and an election year’s hyper-partisan atmosphere.

The House voted last night 277 to 148 in favor of the single-year PATRIOT Act extension, falling 23 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass it. Some two dozen tea party-backed Republican freshmen ended up joining with a majority of Democrats in voting against it.

The power-shift caught Republican leadership off guard. Even after keeping the 15-minute vote open far longer than the rules permitted, they did not have a two-thirds majority.

Some suggested that the House’s most liberal member, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), might have played a role in the sudden spurt of rebellion. He issued a challenge on Tuesday aimed at Tea Party Caucus members in the House, urging them to join him in standing up for civil liberties by resisting the PATRIOT Act’s extension.

“I am hopeful that members of the Tea Party who came to Congress to defend the Constitution will join me in challenging the reauthorization,” he wrote.

While the brief alliance might not be enough to stave off the extension, as the PATRIOT Act was expected to return after its unexpected defeat, it could be the first inklings of a political common ground between libertarian-leaning tea party Republicans and progressive Democrats, especially since both groups are largely seen as disillusioned with the two-party system and partisan gridlock.

The only significant proposal to reform the PATRIOT Act came from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who proposed last month that Congress add greater judicial oversight to the bill. Leahy’s bill would have also extended the PATRIOT Act’s powers until 2013, shifting the extension away from 2012’s election season.

When the act was first signed into law, “sunset” provisions were employed to quiet the concerns of civil libertarians, who were largely ignored once Congress set about on their successive extensions of the emergency powers.

Unfortunately, the concerns of civil libertarians proved to be well founded, and a 2008 Justice Department report confirmed that the FBI regularly abused their ability to obtain personal records of Americans without a warrant.

The only real sign of strong opposition to the act was in 2005, when a Democratic threat to filibuster its first renewal was overcome by Senate Republicans.

 



PATRIOT ACT Signed Into Law With No Debate

PATRIOT ACT Signed Into Law With No Debate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSpqPtmX_bE

Republicans want to make Patriot Act permanent

The FBI Has Been Violating Your Liberties in Ways That May Shock You

 



Obama Wants To Spy On Internet Users

Obama Wants To Spy On Internet Users

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkowM8-ynvQ

Spy Group Building Dossiers On Internet Users For Feds

Obama Wants Warrantless Access to Internet Activity Records