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House Rejects Portions of Patriot Act Extension

| On 09, Feb 2011

The House is not a happy home when it comes to decisions about the Patriot Act.

The legislative process took an interesting turn in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

Some Republicans actually took a stand against their leadership, found a backbone, and voted AGAINST a nine-month extension of some components of the Patriot Act.

The three items up for an extension with the vote, according to Talking Points Memo, included the following:

  • The use of roving wiretaps to track persons on several telephones
  • Tracking a non-U.S. national suspected of being a being an “individual” terrorist, but not tied to a larger group (i.e., Al Qaeda).
  • Seizing personal or business records seen as criminal to an investigation

The GOP leadership thought they were going to ram this one through the House. Since it was on an expedited track, the measure needed 2/3 of the House vote in its favor. It fell short by a few votes with a final tally of 277-148. Of the voting lawmakers, 210 Republicans voted in favor while 122 Dems voted against it. Each side was able to get a fair number of votes from the other party, further confusing the votes.

The Patriot Act provisions are quite the touchy subject when it comes to the country’s national security debate. Put into place shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act in short says, “F*ck your individual liberties, the government has the right to do what it pleases to “protect” Americans.”

Anyone remember warrantless wiretapping of domestic calls of American citizens? Umm, yeah…

President Obama is pushing FOR the provisions to be extended as a function of international intelligence operations. From his standpoint I can see WHY he wants that, but I don’t trust the government after years of negative fallout that started shortly after the passage of the original legislation. There has to be government oversight of these programs that in short “take away” people’s basic liberties. You can thank President Bush kindly for my mistrust.

Lawmakers seem quite divided on the topic. Some pushed for no extension, others want a three-year deal, and some even want the measure to be permanent.

They can’t agree on anything, can they? *sigh*

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