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Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2011

PATRIOT ACT CLEARS ITS HOUSE SPEED-BUMP.... Last week, the House Republican leadership brought up the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, assuming it would quickly clear the chamber. It didn't go well -- a contingent of Republicans balked and the bill fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed at the time.

Late yesterday, the House GOP had more success.

The House on Monday voted to reauthorize and extend through Dec. 8 three ways in which Congress expanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation's counterterrorism powers after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Last week, an effort to extend these provisions of the so-called Patriot Act and a related intelligence law failed to pass after falling just short of the two-thirds' majority needed under a special rule. On Monday, however, the bill was able to pass with only a simple majority -- and it did so, 275 to 144.

Looking at the roll call, 27 Republicans broke party ranks and opposed the measure, and 65 Democrats did the opposite. In general, most Republicans supported Patriot Act reauthorization, and most Democrats opposed it. This is nearly identical to last week's vote totals, but this time, only a simple majority was needed for passage.

There was, incidentally, an interesting motion to recommit from House Democrats.

Every Member of Congress takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. While Members of Congress are all united in their commitment to protect our country against its enemies, they should be equally united to uphold the Constitution.

Today, Democrats offered a motion to recommit on legislation to extend expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act to ensure that PATRIOT Act powers are not used to violate the Constitutional freedoms and protections guaranteed to all Americans. The motion included two parts:

No Constitutional shortcuts. When investigating American citizens, the government must comply with the Constitution, even in national security investigations

Challenging unconstitutional action. If a citizen challenges the government's use of PATRIOT Act power in a court of law, the case must be expedited to ensure the individual's rights are upheld.

A total of two House Republicans -- Texas' Ron Paul and North Carolina's Walter Jones -- voted for this, while 234 did not.

Steve Benen 11:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (8)

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"A total of two House Republicans -- Texas' Ron Paul and North Carolina's Walter Jones -- voted for this, while 234 did not."

Because Republicans LOVE the Constitution. . . except when they don't.

Posted by: Mitch on February 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans (and Democrats) support legislative terrorism!

Posted by: Trollop on February 15, 2011 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

So it's official: we've re-upped the police state.

Posted by: emmie on February 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Why do the GOP congressmen hate the troops so?

Posted by: stevio on February 15, 2011 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad the Dem caucus didn't vote as a bloc and try to screw up Boehner yet again. The 65 Patriotic Act votes could have alibi'd on some procedural grounds (High-handed majority yada yada yada). Then they could vote their conscience next week some time in exchange for a piece of the "The Grand Bargain." Even keeping the Post Office open would be good.

Posted by: Steve High on February 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

In the "Credit Where Credit Is Due" dept., at least Ron Paul is consistent in his constitutional arguments.

Posted by: JEA on February 15, 2011 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

The American government once again pushes its internal terrorism is ok law aka patriot act.

Hell, I wouldn't live in America even if somebody paid me a million dollars to do so. Your government is so broken its almost a self parody.

Its good living in a country where the government works for the people, rather then for their own personal benefit.

Screw America.

Posted by: David B on February 15, 2011 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Let us now praise Walter Jones, who, like Paul, has now voted against the Patriot Act AND the Iraq War. This totally redeems the whole "Freedom Fries" thing.

Posted by: Greg on February 16, 2011 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK



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