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Opposition to Patriot Act Brewing in the Senate -- stalemate ends p#68

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Opposition to Patriot Act Brewing in the Senate -- stalemate ends p#68

Old 12-15-05, 08:27 AM
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Opposition to Patriot Act Brewing in the Senate -- stalemate ends p#68

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Roving wiretaps and the ability to peek into private medical records are among the provisions of the anti-terror Patriot Act that will remain intact if the Senate follows the House lead on the bill.

By a 251-174 vote Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to renew 16 of the act's provisions that were set to expire at year's end. The bill now heads back to the Senate, where a fiercer battle is expected.

"The Patriot Act is essential to fighting the war on terror and preventing our enemies from striking America again," President Bush said in a statement praising the House vote. "In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment."

Among the provisions the House proposes to extend is one allowing the FBI, with a court order, to place wiretaps on every phone a suspect uses -- a procedure called a roving wiretap -- and another permitting the agency to obtain personal records, including medical documents and library activity.

With Senate approval, these investigative tools would be available to the FBI for another four years. The majority of the act, however, has no expiration date.

Civil liberty advocates have inspired changes to some of the act's provisions that they consider troubling, namely one that allows authorities to obtain warrants and search suspects' homes without telling them, if it would jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

Under the bill passed Wednesday, subjects of search warrants would have to be notified within 30 days, but authorities are allowed to ask for extensions.

The bill also changes the rules surrounding National Security Letters, which the FBI has increasingly used in the past few years to request a variety of personal information, including financial, phone and Internet records.

The letters have been criticized because of the secrecy surrounding them, but if the bill's changes become law, the U.S. Department of Justice will have to divulge how often they are used and perform audits of their use.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff are among those lobbying Congress to pass the reauthorization bill, saying it is essential to fighting terrorism.

In an opinion piece in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Gonzales emphasized the need for urgency in passing the bill "before the men and women in law enforcement lose the tools they need to keep us safe."

But a bipartisan group of nine senators is rejecting the call to pass the bill swiftly and wants to garner support for a three-month extension to allow negotiators to craft a new bill.

"It is not too late to remedy the problems with the conference report," states a letter from the senators urging their colleagues to vote against halting debate when the bill reaches the floor.

Gonzales this week joined Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in rejecting the idea of reopening negotiations or temporarily extending the bill. Sensenbrenner said the present proposal should be ratified or the expiring provisions and changes to the bill will die.

Another proponent of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, said that he was opposed to "a short-term extension," according to The Associated Press.

GOP consensus is not a given, though, as four Republican senators, including Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire, have already indicated their opposition to the bill, and Sununu said the foursome has secured "a bit more support."

Also looking for support is Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who was the only senator to vote against the original Patriot Act in 2001. He has called the House bill "a major disappointment" and vowed to do everything he can, including filibuster, to stop the bill's passage.

Feingold made his comments after Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, announced last week that House and Senate negotiators had agreed on a version of the Patriot Act that Spector said found a balance between national security and civil liberties.

Under the compromise, three controversial elements of the act -- including the roving wiretaps and access to personal records -- would be renewed for four years, instead of the House-proposed 10, a deal Specter said wasn't perfect, but better than maintaining the present Patriot Act or having no Patriot Act at all. The bill including those provisions is what the House voted on Wednesday.

"Merely sunsetting bad law is not adequate," Feingold said. "We need to make substantive changes to the law, and without those changes I am confident there will be strong, bipartisan opposition here in the Senate."

Frist told CNN he would not support extending the Patriot Act, unrevised, simply to avoid a filibuster fight.
________________________

There will be a cloture vote today or tomorrow on the legislation. If it fails, the Senate will most likely extend the previous act for another 3 months.
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Old 12-15-05, 05:26 PM
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Huh! I see.

Everyone on the forum approves of the Patriot Act.
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Old 12-15-05, 06:05 PM
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Just because nemein's sputtering Iraq election thread took off doesn't mean this thread will.
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Old 12-15-05, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Huh! I see.

Everyone on the forum approves of the Patriot Act.
Well, actually I just didn't think I had anything intelligent or insightful to contribute.
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Old 12-15-05, 07:33 PM
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Well I thought it was an interesting topic.

I think most people are torn about how they feel about the Patriot Act. They object to it's 'intrusion' into their civil liberties; but, they feel it's probably necessary to better insure the country against terrorist attacks.
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Old 12-15-05, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Well, actually I just didn't think I had anything intelligent or insightful to contribute.
I hate these new rules.






My only response would be: No real surprise.
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Old 12-15-05, 07:35 PM
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That wasn't nice.

wendersfan usually has cogent comments to make about topics.
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Old 12-16-05, 07:29 AM
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If it fails, the Senate will most likely extend the previous act for another 3 months.
Apparently that's not going to be the case. The White House & Senate Republican leaders rejected the extension idea.

Showdown at high noon.
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Old 12-16-05, 10:06 AM
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Russ Feingold continues to impress me....

"Let me make one final point about sneak and peek warrants. Don't be fooled for a minute into believing that this power is needed to investigate terrorism or espionage. It's not. Section 213 is a criminal provision that could apply in whatever kind of criminal investigation the government has undertaken. In fact, most sneak and peek warrants are issued for drug investigations. So why do I say that they arent needed in terrorism investigations? Because FISA also can apply to those investigations. And FISA search warrants are always executed in secret, and never require notice. If you really don't want to give notice of a search in a terrorism investigation, you can get a FISA warrant. So any argument that limiting the sneak and peek power as we have proposed will interfere with sensitive terrorism investigations is a red herring."
Why do I get the feeling he is one of the few Senators who has actually read the Patriot Act. Too bad that this guy has no shot of winning the Democratic nom for Prez.
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Old 12-16-05, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Russ Feingold continues to impress me....

Why do I get the feeling he is one of the few Senators who has actually read the Patriot Act. Too bad that this guy has no shot of winning the Democratic nom for Prez.
I agree with you about Feingold wrt to this topic, but in general, he scares the bejeesus out of me. Or, more specifically, the cult-like responses to his speeches do.
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Old 12-16-05, 10:22 AM
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A cloture vote will fail - and probably fail badly.

It will interesting what instructions from the White House that Frist will receive when it does.
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Old 12-16-05, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
I agree with you about Feingold wrt to this topic, but in general, he scares the bejeesus out of me. Or, more specifically, the cult-like responses to his speeches do.

He was against the war, for John Roberts (because of his qualifications), and now says this. That's about the best I can expect from a Senator these days.
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Old 12-16-05, 10:36 AM
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Specter is angry. He's claiming the Democrats, and Republican opponents, are misrepresenting what is in the confrerence report on the Patriot Act.

I can't believe a senator would misrepresent anything.

Feingold just finished speaking. Apparently there's only one section of the confrerence report that he disagrees with.

If Sen. Ken Salazar is against it, and he is, then I'm 'agin it.
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Old 12-16-05, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
He was against the war, for John Roberts (because of his qualifications), and now says this. That's about the best I can expect from a Senator these days.
How do you feel about Feingold's views on campaign finance reform?

Personally, I like Feingold for all the reasons you outline above and many mroe positions you probably don't agree with. I think McCain-Feingold was a good attempt to fix a real problem in politics, but it did more harm than good and should be repealed or overhauled.
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Old 12-16-05, 11:25 AM
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Cloture failed: 52-47
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Old 12-16-05, 11:31 AM
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Frist has just said that debate will continue; and, there will not be a short-term extension.
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Old 12-16-05, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Frist has just said that debate will continue; and, there will not be a short-term extension.

As I understand it Bush said he wouldn't sign a short term extension. Considering how little political captial he has these days you'd think he'd be a little more willing to work w/ the congress. Not surprising though...
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Old 12-16-05, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
How do you feel about Feingold's views on campaign finance reform?

Personally, I like Feingold for all the reasons you outline above and many mroe positions you probably don't agree with. I think McCain-Feingold was a good attempt to fix a real problem in politics, but it did more harm than good and should be repealed or overhauled.

I have a huge problem with it and anyone who respects the first amendment should have a huge problem with it.

He isn't perfect, but like I said, he's about the best one can expect. The Iraq war and terrorism are THE issues right now and SCt noms are always a huge issue for me - he has taken the correct approaches on these important issues and thus has done more than any other Senator to earn a from me.
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Old 12-16-05, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
As I understand it Bush said he wouldn't sign a short term extension. Considering how little political captial he has these days you'd think he'd be a little more willing to work w/ the congress. Not surprising though...
This is a game of politics - who gives in first.

The Democrats don't want to be painted as 'soft on terrorism.' But they want to demonstrate their opposition to certain provisions of the act - what they consider to be too much an infringement on civil liberties.

The Republicans probably wouldn't mind continued Democratic opposition. They then can really paint the Democrats as being soft on terrorism - gently of course.

The Repubs probably hold most of the political cards on this issue.
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Old 12-16-05, 01:22 PM
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I believe recently my parents had to sign some Patriot Act papers saying that they were not terrorists when they were purchasing a new home.

Mmm, yeah. That'll show Mohammed and his henchmen.
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Old 12-16-05, 04:37 PM
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I sincerely hope we never enact anything like the Patriot Act ever again.
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Old 12-16-05, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I sincerely hope we never enact anything like the Patriot Act ever again.
Right now it looks like in one form or another it will be reauthorized. Both sides either like it or don't want to look to be soft on terrorism/law enforcement so chances are the bulk of it is going to go through. In fact it's my understanding in the entire bill there are only a few controversial sections and the bulk of it was designed to; codify things that were already in standard practice, and eliminate the "stovepipes" between intel and law enforcement efforts. What specifically don't you like about it and led you to make the statement you did above?
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Old 12-16-05, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I sincerely hope we never enact anything like the Patriot Act ever again.
There was one Senator who voted against the orignal Patriot Act.

The vast majority of the Congress want the Patriot Act. They just want to amend it to protect certain civil liberties more.
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Old 12-16-05, 09:18 PM
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The Patriot Act really isn't the problem. It's the idiots who use it for innappropriate situations. Ashcroft comes to mind.
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Old 12-17-05, 04:31 PM
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The problem is that it gives people power to use it inappropriately. That's the reason we have the checks and balances we do.
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