Friday, February 04, 2011
Republicans Move to Make PATRIOT Act Permanent
February 4, 2011
Freshly emboldened by their mid-term congressional wins, establishment Republicans are set to extend the unconstitutional police state Patriot Act. It is set to expire in three weeks and Republicans are eager to make sections of the legislation permanent.
Rep. Ron Paul is one of a small number of members of Congress who do not support the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act.
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a vote to continue and extend the law. “Having this debate year after year offers little certainty to agents utilizing these provisions to keep the nation safe,” said ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
“Short-term reauthorizations lead to operational uncertainty and compliance and reporting problems if the reauthorization occurs too close to expiration,” Grassley continued. “If these provisions are necessary, we should provide more certainty rather than simply revisiting the law year after year given the indefinite threat we face from acts of terrorism, and that looks like decades ahead. We should permanently reauthorize the three expiring provisions.”
Grassley, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., will introduce legislation to make the measures permanent.
The Senate leadership has initiated procedures for a vote on the legislation. “These are going to expire in a couple weeks so I would hope that all senators in both parties who have interest in that will meet with me and Sen. Grassley. None of us want to play politics on national security and we should get moving on this,” said committee chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
Leahy introduced a reauthorization of the unconstitutional act last week that would extend and reform some provisions set to expire on February 28. Leahy’s reforms, known as the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011, would limit the government’s power in gathering intelligence on individuals in the United States.
Many observers, including the ACLU and the American Library Association, say the reforms do not go far enough. The ACLU has called the legislation unconstitutional.