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Senate Roll Call Vote

House Roll Call Vote

Senate Cloture Votes (h/t Goobergrunch in the comments)

* Update*

ACTION: After you check the links above to see how your representative and your senators voted, contact them and tell them how you feel about their vote.

Back then:

Standing Up on the PATRIOT Act
by Russ Feingold, 250 comments, Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 01:08 PM EST with 334 Recommends

by Russ Feingold, 240 comments, Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:36 PM EST with 432 Recommends

A Bad Deal - Patriot Act Update
by Russ Feingold, 194 comments, Fri Feb 10, 2006 at 11:54 AM EST with 366 Recommends

Note: Getting hundreds of recommends was a really big deal back then.


Today in Congress
by David Waldman, 25 comments, Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:00 AM EDT with 12 Recommends

Patriot Act likely to be extended -- without even a
by jamess, 13 comments, Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:22 AM EDT with 12 Recommends

Sneaking the PATRIOT Act through
by DemandProgress, 3 comments, Wed May 25, 2011 at 06:06 PM EDT with 5 Recommends

PROTECT IP is protecting...who?
by DemandProgress, 7 comments, Wed May 25, 2011 at 03:43 PM EDT with 3 Recommends

Senators Look to Curb Patriot Act Abuses
by The Anomaly, 8 comments, Mon May 23, 2011 at 11:15 PM EDT with 13 Recommends

The Patriot Act to escape unscathed from the Bin Laden dividend
by jamess, 19 comments, Fri May 20, 2011 at 04:54 PM EDT with 17 Recommends

Harry Reid and "procedural gymnastics" and Rand Paul Putting Us to Shame

This is embarrassing. Of all people, Rand Paul.  And from FoxNews, and the crazy thing is this time, they got it right.  It's like some kind of upside-down world.

With very little time left on the clock to save the Patriot Act from expiring on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to work some procedural gymnastics to get past Sen. Rand Paul's many objections (and amendments), as well as a number of members in his own party.

Sen. Reid basically killed his current bill and and opted to take up a House small business bill (it's in a form that's considered filibuster-proof as far as starting debate goes). Neither Rand Paul nor anyone else can object to this. Reid then amended the House bill with the entire text of the Patriot Act extension.

In doing so, Sen. Reid has essentially extended the Patriot Act although there are some steps that must still take place; it will be likely Thursday before a cloture vote can occur. It's unclear whether Reid can get to final passage in time, but these things have a way of working themselves out.

Look at These Quotes

“Today’s vote is a great moment for our Constitution and our democracy and a great moment in the fight against terrorism,” said Wisconsin’s Sen. Russell D. Feingold, who has led the fight for Democrats. “If you don’t have the confidence of the American people when it comes to this fight against terrorism, if they fear that somehow we’re going too far and going after the rights of law-abiding citizens — it will weaken our ability to win in that all-important battle.”

-- Russ Feingold, Dec 2005

“The Patriot Act expires on December 31, but the terrorists’ threat does not,” Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said shortly before the Senate fell seven “ayes” shy of the 60 votes needed to end debate on the bill. “We have a clear choice before us today: Do we advance against terrorism to make America safer or do we retreat to the days before 9/11 when terrorists slipped through the cracks?”

-- Bill Frist, Dec 2005

“We killed the Patriot Act,” boasted Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to cheers from a crowd at a political rally after the vote.

-- Harry Reid, Dec 2005

“Earlier today, the Senate voted to stop a bill that would have allowed the abuses of American civil liberties to continue for another four years,” he said in a floor statement.

-- Robert Byrd, Dec 2005

“For our colleagues to allow it to expire is to play with fire,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican. “It is to take the chance that terrorists will not act in that interim, in that period where the act falls and we’re relegated to using the authorities that we had before September 11th.”

-- Jon Kyl, Dec 2005

“These senators need to understand that the Patriot Act expires in 15 days, but the terrorist threat to America will not expire on that schedule,” Mr. Bush said. “The terrorists want to attack America again and kill the innocent and inflict even greater damage than they did on September 11th — and the Congress has a responsibility not to take away this vital tool … to protect the American people.”

--Pres Bush, Dec 2005

If there is a lapse, a senior administration official said, the F.B.I. would be able to continue using orders it had already obtained, but it would not be able to apply for new ones if further tips and leads came in about a possible terrorist operation. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, reacted with alarm to that prospect, saying no one could predict what the consequences of a temporary lapse might be.

“This is unprecedented,” the official said. “We don’t believe the risk is worth it.”

-- Obama admin - Sr admin official, May 2011

“We don’t want our records to be sifted through by a government without judicial review,” Mr. Paul said. “They don’t want to vote on this because they know the American people agree with us.”

-- Rand Paul, May 2011

"If the senator from Kentucky refuses to relent," ... "that would increase the risk of a retaliatory terrorist strike against the homeland and hamper our ability to deal a truly fatal blow to al-Qaida"

-- Harry Reid, May 2011

"When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we would be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot attacks against our country, undetected," Reid added.

-- Harry Reid, May 2011

"I've been accused of wanting to allow terrorists to have weapons to attack America," said Paul, a leading figure in the conservative Tea Party movement. "To be attacked of such a belief when I'm here to discuss and debate the constitutionality of the Patriot Act is offensive and I find it personally insulting."

-- Rand Paul, May 2011

"It's hard to imagine why the senator from Kentucky would want to hold up the Patriot Act for a misguided amendment that would make America less safe," Reid said.

-- Harry Reid, May 2011

“We dissolve from within when we give up our liberties,” Paul told his colleagues. “Millions of innocent citizens are having their records looked at.”

-- Rand Paul, May 2011

"Failure to sign this legislation poses a significant risk to U.S. national security," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

WH spokesperson, Nick Shapiro, May 2011

Paul, after complaining that Reid's remarks were "personally insulting," asked whether the nation "should have some rules that say before they come into your house, before they go into your banking records, that a judge should be asked for permission, that there should be judicial review? Do we want a lawless land?"

-- Rand Paul, May 2011

Sen. Feingold has proposed several sensible amendments - that I support - to address these issues. Unfortunately, the Majority Leader is preventing Sen. Feingold from offering these amendments through procedural tactics. That is regrettable because it flies in the face of the bipartisan cooperation that allowed the Senate to pass unanimously its version of the Patriot Act - a version that balanced security and civil liberties, partisanship and patriotism.

The Majority Leader's tactics are even more troubling because we will need to work on a bipartisan basis to address national security challenges in the weeks and months to come. In particular, members on both sides of the aisle will need to take a careful look at President Bush's use of warrantless wiretaps and determine the right balance between protecting our security and safeguarding our civil liberties. This is a complex issue. But only by working together and avoiding election-year politicking will we be able to give our government the necessary tools to wage the war on terror without sacrificing the rule of law.

So, I will be supporting the Patriot Act compromise. But I urge my colleagues to continue working on ways to improve the civil liberties protections in the Patriot Act after it is reauthorized.

Barack Obama, February 2006

We urge you to join us in opposing cloture on the conference report, and in supporting
our call for the conferees to make additional improvements. We still have the
opportunity to pass a good reauthorization bill this year. But to do so, we must stop this conference report, which falls short of the meaningful reforms that need to be made. We must ensure that when we do reauthorize the Patriot Act,we do it right. We still can and must make sure that our laws give law enforcement agents the tools they need while providing safeguards to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.

-- Letter signed by Barack Obama, December 2005
Warning: PDF

Sounding a whole lot like Rand Paul, the 2006-vintage Reid registered his “objection to the procedural maneuver under which Senators have been blocked from offering any amendments to this bill” and reminded his colleagues, ”the hallmark of the Senate is free speech and open debate.”

-- Harry Reid, 2006

I will also continue to strongly oppose any reauthorization of the Patriot Act that does not protect the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans with no connection to terrorism.

-- Russ Feingold, February 2006

It's okay as long as we have a benevolent Executive?

Recent history has shown that the assumption of benevolence is questionable, but let's assume that the reason why there is so little push back is because it's our guy in charge now.  This is a four year extension.  Most Democrats probably assume that President Obama will be reelected.  But the reality of the situation is that anything could happen between now and November, 2012, and also, we have no idea who he will be running against.  What if the Republicans take a page out of the Democrats' book and create some mythical marketing genius of a candidate and they win in 2012?  We would be handing that person, who will almost certainly have no intention of being the person they campaigned as, all the powers of the PATRIOT Act.  Remember when George Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative?

This guy said it pretty well:
Conor Friedersdorf, Associate Editor of The Atlantic

Win or lose in 2012, a big part of Obama's legacy will be normalizing most of what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Perhaps if he hands the extraordinary power he has claimed for the executive branch off to Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty or Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin, Democrats will look back on their behavior during this PATRIOT Act re-authorization with appropriate shame. But I doubt it. If there's one thing our politicians agree about it's that the phrase, "America needs it to stop the terrorists" ends most debates before they begin.

Originally posted to The Amateur Left on Thu May 26, 2011 at 05:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by Frustrati, Progressive Policy Zone, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Critical Realists Working Group .

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