(Updated 12/15) PATRIOT Act: Live Feed and Action Items Email Print

Update 1: The house voted in favor of the conference report on wednesday by a 251-174 vote with 44 Democrats voting to pass the conference report (alas). Roll call.

I have added C-Span 2 feed below the fold. A must-watch on Friday (if you take headphones to work on Friday you can keep tabs on the developments all through the day). Thanks.

C-Span 2 Live feed: courtesy of C-Span.


Current suggested ACTION plan: please call/email/fax your Senators and ask for the following:
  1. to vote against "cloture" (i.e. support a filibuster)
  2. support the Leahy and Sununu bill to extend the debate for 3 months (remember that there will be holidays in between)
  3. open floor debate
  4. 2 year sunset on the entire bill

We must push hard for an "ideal version" of the PATRIOT Act that is legislated in open vision and public debate and discourse.

Argument behind suggested course of action:

We must do everything we can to make sure that the conference version of the bill ([#109-333 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp109:FLD010:@1(hr333)]) is filibustered or rejected (links below).

But, here is why we should ask for a 3 month extension of the debate after a filibuster or rejection.

  1. Even the Senate version of the bill, namely, S. 1389 is only a compromise according to most critics of the original act including Sen. Feingold, ACLU and others. And it is my understanding that all but three provisions will become permanent in that version as well; and those 3 provisions will have a far-off sunset of 4 years.
  2. So, when will we get a chance to workout an "ideal version" if the senate version is enacted into law? Shouldn't we try to put it all out on the table and have something we can live with and move onto other things?
  3. In my opinion, we should also press hard and ask for a 2 year sunset on the whole bill, or at least all those portions that may infringe on civil liberties. Why not? When our liberties are at stake, why shouldn't all of those parts of the bill be reviewed periodically for their necessity and usefulness (not just 3 provisions every 4 years)?
  4. Basically, wouldn't having the whole enchilada debated and discussed right in front of our eyes (open floor debates in congress) be the perfect approach to take? Why compromise on this?
  5. That's why, we should support the impending filibuster, and in addition, support Sen. Leahy's efforts to extend the expiring provisions for 3 months allowing for a thorough debate of the PATRIOT Act. Please see Sen. Leahy's floor statement [here http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200512/121505a.html], and his 12/14 web [log http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/14/patriot-act-leahy/] at Think Progress.

From the original post.
Links for Contacting Members of Congress: The links below provide comprehensive information on Members of Congress (website, phone, fax, address, and web-forms and/or email) based on your zip code:

    congress.org directory listing
    Senate's own member listing
    visi.com search tool
    ACLU's search page
    Congressional leadership listing

In case you haven't done this before, here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Set aside a notebook/notepad for this and future legislative activism purposes, if possible.
  2. Explore the links above and note down or bookmark the numbers, email addresses, webform URLs etc.
  3. You may also to visit this dKosopedia Election 2006 page later to assess the political dynamics involved.
  4. Call the offices of each of your members of congress (house representative first, as that vote will likely come first).
  5. Note down the name of the staff member you speak to.
  6. convey your thoughts, and jot down their feedback.
  7. Place followup calls if necessary.
  8. Send emails/webmails, faxes, as necessary.
  9. Sign the petition by People for the American Way (PFAW) emergency petition: link. Please see ACLU's letter to Congress for additional their talking points.

Thank you.


To follow is ACLU's summary of findings on conference report 109-333 (full memo here):

One Page Summary of Conference Report on Patriot Act Reauthorization (12/7/2005)

Summary of Conference Report on Patriot Act Reauthorization

    * The conference report ("conference report") makes virtually all of the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act) permanent without including necessary changes to restore checks and balances.

    * Personal records from libraries, bookstores, doctor's offices, business, and other entities that are not connected to an international terrorist or spy could still be obtained using either a secret order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) or a "national security letter" (NSL) that can be issued by an FBI official without any court oversight.

    * Both secret FISA orders and NSLs would continue to contain a potentially permanent gag provision that bars a recipient from telling anyone (other than the recipient's lawyer) that records have been obtained.  The court must accept as "conclusive" the government's assertion that disclosure of an NSL would harm national security.

    * The bill allows sneak-and-peek searches under a broad standard not limited to terrorism cases.  New 30 and 90 day time limits could be waived or renewed indefinitely, allowing such searches to continue to remain secret for weeks, months or even years.

    * The bill still allows secret eavesdropping and secret search orders that do not name a target or a location, with only after-the-fact oversight by a court as to why the government believed a unknown target was in that location.

    * Reforms the Patriot Act's definition of "domestic terrorism" to provide that assets may not be forfeited except where the organization or individual is involved in a serious federal crime - a welcome change.

    * Omits modest limits on a host of additional Patriot Act surveillance powers, all of which are made permanent.

    * Although the final reauthorization bill includes the most extreme death penalty provisions sought by some, it would create a number of new crimes, including new death penalties, without adequate consideration by Congress.

    * The bill allows the Justice Department, not federal courts, to determine that a state has a competent death penalty system, qualifying it for a relaxed set of procedural rules for federal habeas proceedings.

    * Provides a new, four year sunset on only three provisions out of scores of new surveillance powers obtained by the government in the Patriot Act.


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by NeuvoLiberal on 12/13/2005 01:59:30 PM EST

You should also put a short post up in Code Blue, since it's activism and encourages fast action.

Welcome to the Cortex.  Hope you enjoy the site.

There's a lot of good resources in the attached pages, so poke around.

Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle. FDR

by btyarbro on 12/13/2005 02:23:12 PM EST

"You should also put a short post up in Code Blue"

I don't know how do that yet. If someone is able to do it for me, I'd appreciate it.

Also, is it possible to request FP appearance (i.e. article submission) after posting a diary?

by NeuvoLiberal on 12/13/2005 02:31:33 PM EST

Just re-post a shorter version of the piece (hit the essential call to action) and re-submit it as an "article."

Select "Code Blue" from the drop-down options for Post to:

Uncheck the box for editorial feedback requested. (That would send you to the editing and voting queue.)

Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle. FDR

by btyarbro on 12/13/2005 04:10:03 PM EST

try it out. Thanks.

by NeuvoLiberal on 12/13/2005 04:29:44 PM EST

Thanks for posting this.

by SusanG on 12/14/2005 02:29:09 PM EST

SusanG. Looks like the filibuster has the legs t hold, and I am guessing that the 3 month extended debate being proposed by Leahy and Sununu (more on it in a comment below) will also go through tomorrow.

The developments should be interesting to watch. I'll try to include C-Span 2 feed into the post as here. Please bear with me if I run to any technical difficulties.


by NeuvoLiberal on 12/16/2005 12:33:00 AM EST

According to Raw Story, Harry Reid is going to vote against cloture, upholding a threatened fillibuster by Russ Feingold.  

I don't believe Reid would do this if he didn't think he had the votes.

by Devilstower on 12/14/2005 04:46:00 PM EST