What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Individual Rights : (H.R. 514) Legislation extending expiring provisions of a controversial government surveillance program known as the “Patriot Act” -- On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to the bill. Specifically, the bill extended provisions 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 and library records).
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(H.R. 514) Legislation extending expiring provisions of a controversial government surveillance program known as the “Patriot Act” -- On the resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to the bill. Specifically, the bill extended provisions 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 and library records).
house Roll Call 45     Feb 16, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to legislation extending expiring provisions of a controversial government surveillance program known as the Patriot Act (a law designed to conduct surveillance on terrorists but which critics argued could be used against anyone). Those provisions—which were set to expire on February 28, 2011—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 and library records).  

The House had already passed a bill to extend these provisions for ten months. The Senate, however, amended the bill to shorten the extension to three months. This vote was on the Senate-passed, three-month extension of the three provisions described above.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “None of these three provisions have been held unconstitutional by a court. There hasn't even been a challenge to the roving wiretaps, and there hasn't been a challenge to the lone wolf provision that is also up for renewal….They [critics of the bill] are saying that there has been a violation of civil liberties. There hasn't been. No court has found that there has been a violation of civil liberties….On none of these provisions that are up for renewal has there really been any meritorious complaint. There has been this great big fear that civil liberties have been violated, but when you get down to the facts, no court has found that civil liberties have been violated.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) urged opposition the resolution and the underlying measure: “We have the lone wolf provision, which relates to foreign nationals in our country that are not specifically connected to a foreign terrorist network or foreign government or represent a security threat. We have the roving wiretap provision, again particularly problematic in how it's been designated where you don't have to even designate whose phone you are tapping or the area in which the phone is being tapped. All that has to be shown is that it might be a phone that is used by somebody who might be considered a suspect by someone without any oversight with regard to that matter. There's nothing to restrict it from being used to tap the phones of an entire neighborhood, an entire block, an entire city.”

The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 254-176. Voting “yea” were 236 Republicans and 18 Democrats. 172 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation extending expiring provisions of a  controversial government surveillance program known as the Patriot Act.

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