Despite the valiant efforts of liberty-defending congresspersons from both political parties, the House of Representatives just passed an extension of the three USA PATRIOT Act surveillance powers that were set to “sunset” at the end of February by a vote of 275 to 144. Now, the Senate is our last hope to stop PATRIOT renewal and obtain meaningful PATRIOT reform. The Senate will be voting on PATRIOT extensions any day now, so contact your Senators today and urge them to vote NO on the PATRIOT Act!
On Monday, February 14, 2011, the House passed H.R. 514 to once again extend the three expiring PATRIOT powers–“lone wolf” wiretapping, “roving” wiretapping, and “Section 215” secret orders for Internet and business records–until December 8, 2011. The last time Congress extended the PATRIOT Act, in February 2010, Congressional leaders justified the decision by saying it would give Congress the time to fully consider a range of PATRIOT reform proposals. But in a sneak attack on your civil liberties, the just-passed PATRIOT extension bill–which doesn’t contain a single new reform to protect your rights–was quickly rammed through the House with no hearings, no Committee meetings, no reform amendments allowed, and hardly any debate before the vote. Now, the Senate is our last hope to avoid a rubber-stamp PATRIOT renewal and obtain meaningful PATRIOT reform.