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The Patriot Act narrowly escaped being scaled down.

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House Rejects Amendment to Weaken Patriot Act

The Patriot Act narrowly escaped being scaled down.

On July 8, by a vote of 210 to 210, the House narrowly rejected an amendment to take away some of the FBI’s ability to investigate terrorists. The amendment would have killed a provision in the Patriot Act that allows library and book store records of suspected terrorists to be obtained more efficiently.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act–under fire since its passage in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because of claims it unjustly restricts civil liberties–allows terrorism investigators to obtain library and book store records of a terrorist suspect with a court order.

The amendment, proposed by far-left Rep. Bernard Sanders (I.-Vt.), would have done away with this provision and required investigators to obtain a grand jury subpoena before searching book records. However, as Rep. Lamar Smith (R.-Tex.) pointed out, the provisions in the Patriot Act provide more protection from misuse than simply requiring a grand jury subpoena.

“This provision does not apply to ordinary citizens engaging in ordinary criminal activity,” he said. “In order to conduct a search of records, the FBI must have a court order. Second, there are narrow restrictions on when such a record search may take place. It can be used only to obtain foreign intelligence information concerning a non-citizen of the United States or to obtain information relating to international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

Many in favor of the amendment are opposed to terrorist investigators’ ability to obtain book records almost secretly–a facet that Patriot Act supporters find attractive.

“The bottom line is we are at war with terrorists, and we want to break into those cells and detect what is going on, and we sure as hell do not want to tell them we’re coming,” said liberal Rep. Christopher Shays (R.-Conn.).

Supporters of the amendment used all the emotional appeal they could muster, referring to the amendment as the “Freedom to Read” amendment and “partial restoration of the fourth amendment. amendment.” Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D.-Calif.) even likened Section 215 of the Patriot Act to the book burnings in Nazi Germany.

Supporters of the amendment seemed to prefer hyperbolic examples to prove their point rather than sticking to the facts.

“They want to have the government able to reach into our lives, no matter what we are doing, no matter what you read in the library,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-Wash.). “Do not buy a ticket to Fahrenheit 9/11 on the Internet, because they will get your Internet records. They are going to get everything about your life, and they will continue to do it until we finally wind up with martial law.”

Several opponents of the amendment said this debate was legitimate for Congress to have, but it should not be conducted as an amendment to an appropriations bill, which limits debate to 20 minutes on each side.

A “yes” vote was a vote for the amendment in favor restricting the Patriot Act and the FBI’s terrorism-fighting capabilities. A “no” vote was a vote to keep the Patriot Act intact.

For the Amendment: 210 Against the Amendment: 210
REPUBLICANS FOR: 18
Bartlett (MD)
Castle
Duncan
Ehlers
Flake
Johnson (IL)
Kirk
Leach
Moran (KS)
Ney
Otter
Paul
Petri
Porter
Renzi
Simpson
Weldon (PA)
Young (AK)

DEMOCRATS FOR: 191
Abercrombie
Ackerman
Alexander
Allen
Andrews
Baca
Baird
Baldwin
Becerra
Berkley
Berman
Bishop (NY)
Boswell
Boucher
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Brown, Corrine
Brown (OH)
Capps
Capuano
Cardin
Cardoza
Carson (OK)
Case
Chandler
Clay
Clyburn
Conyers
Cooper
Costello
Cramer
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (AL)
Davis (CA)
Davis (FL)
Davis (IL)
Davis (TN)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Dooley (CA)
Doyle
Emanuel
Engel
Eshoo
Etheridge
Evans
Farr
Fattah
Filner
Ford
Frank (MA)
Frost
Gonzalez
Gordon
Green (TX)
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Herseth
Hill
Hinojosa
Hoeffel
Holden
Holt
Honda
Hooley (OR)
Hoyer
Inslee
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Jefferson
John
Johnson, E. B.
Jones (OH)
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy (RI)
Kildee
Kilpatrick
Kind
Kleczka
Kucinich
Lampson
Langevin
Lantos
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lipinski
Lowey
Lucas (KY)
Lynch
Majette
Maloney
Markey
Marshall
Matheson
Matsui
McCarthy (MO)
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNulty
Meehan
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Menendez
Michaud
Millender-McDonald
Miller, George
Miller (NC)
Mollohan
Moore
Moran (VA)
Murtha
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Ortiz
Owens
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor
Payne
Pelosi
Peterson (MN)
Pomeroy
Price (NC)
Rahall
Rangel
Reyes
Rodriguez
Ross
Rothman
Roybal-Allard
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sabo
S√?∆? ¬°nchez, Linda
Sanchez, Loretta
Sandlin
Schakowsky
Schiff
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Sherman
Skelton
Slaughter
Snyder
Solis
Spratt
Stark
Strickland
Stupak
Tanner
Tauscher
Taylor (MS)
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Towns
Turner (TX)
Udall (CO)
Udall (NM)
Van Hollen
Vel√?∆? ¬°zquez
Visclosky
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Wexler
Woolsey
Wu
Wynn

INDEPENDENTS FOR: 1
Sanders

REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 206
Aderholt
Akin
Bachus
Baker
Ballenger
Barrett (SC)
Barton (TX)
Bass
Beauprez
Bereuter
Biggert
Bilirakis
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehlert
Boehner
Bonilla
Bonner
Bono
Boozman
Bradley (NH)
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Burgess
Burns
Burr
Burton (IN)
Buyer
Calvert
Camp
Cannon
Cantor
Capito
Carter
Chabot
Chocola
Coble
Cole
Cox
Crane
Crenshaw
Cubin
Culberson
Cunningham
Davis, Jo Ann
Davis, Tom
Deal (GA)
DeLay
DeMint
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Doolittle
Dreier
Dunn
Emerson
English
Everett
Feeney
Ferguson
Foley
Forbes
Fossella
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Gibbons
Gilchrest
Gillmor
Gingrey
Goode
Goodlatte
Goss
Granger
Graves
Green (WI)
Greenwood
Gutknecht
Hall
Harris
Hart
Hastert
Hastings (WA)
Hayes
Hayworth
Hefley
Hensarling
Herger
Hobson
Hoekstra
Hostettler
Houghton
Hulshof
Hunter
Hyde
Isakson
Issa
Istook
Jenkins
Johnson, Sam
Johnson (CT)
Jones (NC)
Keller
Kelly
Kennedy (MN)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kline
Knollenberg
Kolbe
Latham
LaTourette
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
Linder
LoBiondo
Lucas (OK)
Manzullo
McCotter
McCrery
McHugh
McInnis
McKeon
Mica
Miller, Gary
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Murphy
Musgrave
Myrick
Nethercutt
Neugebauer
Northup
Norwood
Nunes
Nussle
Osborne
Ose
Oxley
Pearce
Pence
Peterson (PA)
Pickering
Pitts
Platts
Pombo
Portman
Pryce (OH)
Putnam
Radanovich
Ramstad
Regula
Rehberg
Reynolds
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Ros-Lehtinen
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Ryun (KS)
Saxton
Schrock
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shadegg
Shaw
Shays
Sherwood
Shimkus
Shuster
Simmons
Smith (MI)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Souder
Stearns
Sullivan
Sweeney
Tancredo
Taylor (NC)
Terry
Thomas
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Toomey
Turner (OH)
Upton
Vitter
Walden (OR)
Walsh
Wamp
Weldon (FL)
Weller
Whitfield
Wicker
Wilson (NM)
Wilson (SC)
Wolf
Young (FL)

DEMOCRATS AGAINST: 4

Edwards
Harman
Smith (WA)
Stenholm

PRESENT: 1

REPUBLICANS (0): DEMOCRATS (1): INDEPENDENTS (0)
Lofgren

NOT VOTING: 13

REPUBLICANS (4): DEMOCRATS (9): INDEPENDENTS (0)
Collins
LaHood
Quinn
Tauzin
Bell
Berry
Bishop (GA)
Blumenauer
Carson (IN)
Deutsch
Gephardt
Hastings (FL)
Hinchey
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