I wanted to provide you with an update on the status of the Patriot Act. The House and Senate are in conference to resolve the differences between their separate versions of the bill to renew and, in some cases, expand the Patriot Act. The House version contains far more egregious provisions than the Senate version, and I voted against it in the House. Among other things, the House bill does little to limit the government's ability to snoop into library and bookstore records to ascertain the reading habits of law abiding citizens, has no clarification on the use of "national security letters" (it has recently been reported that these letters are being used to excess), and a near-permanent ten-year extension of the Act. The Senate version is only slightly better.
The conference committee had its first meeting Thursday and the Republicans are seeking to rush to an agreement and a final vote on the bill later this week. I am fighting against efforts to pass a bill that does not place checks and balances on the Patriot Act, but I need your help
. This could be our last chance to put the brakes on the Patriot Act.
On my website, I have devoted a page to the Patriot Act
with detailed information about the bill, reports from privacy groups, recent news articles, a letter to the editor form, and links to other sites where you can take action today. Please visit the site, write your local papers
, and do whatever you can to help fight against this disastrous bill.