What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Government Surveillance of Citizens : (H.R. 514) On a motion that would have required all investigations of U.S. citizens conducted under a controversial government surveillance law known as the Patriot Act to “be conducted in a manner that complies with the Constitution of the United States…” The motion also would have required courts to expedite cases brought by American Citizens who claim that their civil rights have been violated as a result of the Patriot Act.
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(H.R. 514) On a motion that would have required all investigations of U.S. citizens conducted under a controversial government surveillance law known as the Patriot Act to “be conducted in a manner that complies with the Constitution of the United States…” The motion also would have required courts to expedite cases brought by American Citizens who claim that their civil rights have been violated as a result of the Patriot Act.
house Roll Call 35     Feb 14, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have required all investigations of U.S. citizens conducted under a controversial government surveillance law known as the Patriot Act (a law designed to conduct surveillance on terrorists but which critics argued could be used against anyone) to “be conducted in a manner that complies with the Constitution of the United States…” The motion also would have required courts to expedite cases brought by American Citizens who claim that their civil rights have been violated as a result of the Patriot Act.  A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion was offered to legislation extending expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. Those provisions included allowing the federal government to wiretap terrorism suspects, authorizing intelligence officials to conduct surveillance of individuals who are not known to be affiliated with terrorist groups (known as the “lone wolf” provision), and providing federal investigators—after receiving permission from a judge—with access to business records (such as library records).

Rep. David Price (D-NC) urged support for the motion to recommit: “…This motion is as straightforward as they come. The Patriot Act should be enforced in a manner that doesn't violate Americans' constitutional rights, and those who believe their constitutional rights have been violated should receive fair and equitable treatment by the courts. I can't imagine any of my colleagues from either party voting against this bedrock principle that the executive branch should respect the Constitution when it comes to investigating American citizens. After all, each of us took an oath of office last month to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I know we all take that oath seriously.”

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) urged opposition to this motion: “…Rather than expediting the request to seek information on terrorists, this motion to recommit tells the court to expedite civil lawsuits against the United States Government to get money damages under a provision that is in the Patriot Act...They don't need to be expedited. What needs to be expedited is going after the terrorists with business records….Now, there is a provision in the motion to recommit that says that the Constitution has to be followed. We don't need to put things in the statute book that says the Constitution needs to be followed. That's the supreme law of the land. This is completely redundant. It is unnecessary….Vote against this motion to recommit and pass the bill.”

The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 186-234. All 184 Democrats present and 2 Republicans voted “yea.”. 234 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have required courts to expedite cases brought by American Citizens who claim that their civil rights have been violated as a result of the Patriot Act, and would also have required all investigations of U.S. citizens conducted under  a controversial government surveillance law known as the Patriot Act to “be conducted in a manner that complies with the Constitution of the United States…”

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