Patriot Act renewal passes House

posted at 10:12 am on February 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The House had another opportunity for progressives to do a little piñata-beating on a bill last night — but curiously, it passed with little note or controversy.  The extension of the Patriot Act sailed through the lower chamber with almost no one noticing, following a similarly quiet passage out of the Senate earlier in the week:

The House of Representatives reauthorized the Patriot Act for one year Thursday.

The vote was 315-97 .

Many liberals in the House opposed the controversial act, saying it tramps Constitutional protections and civil liberties.

During George Bush’s term in office, every renewal the Patriot Act became grand theater, with newspapers inveighing against the overreach of Bush and the danger to American liberty in the bill, which wasn’t an entirely vacuous argument.  Protesters would fill streets, and reporters would demand positions from various members of Congress.  So what happened this year?

First, Barack Obama took most of the wind out of the critics’ sails when he voted to extend the Patriot Act in the summer of 2008, reversing a pledge he had made just a few months earlier.  This shocked the New York Times, but it acknowledged that actual, principled opposition to the Patriot Act was among a small minority, as opposed to the majority of critics who used it as a political bat to beat Bush.  Even at that time, the filibuster that Obama promised to join had only a baker’s dozen committed to it, far short of the 41 votes needed to hold up a critical piece of wartime legislation.

That brings us to the main point.  Republicans have mostly supported this bill because they believe it a necessary tool for counterintelligence and counterterrorism.  Democrats mainly opposed it as a way to rally political opposition to Bush and the Republicans.  Now that they’re in charge and responsible for preventing attacks, that Patriot Act looks pretty darned good to most of them.

I (mostly) disagree with the 97 who voted against the renewal of the Patriot Act, but at least I respect their integrity.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Actually, I am a knee jerk conservative, and I don’t like the PATRIOT Act. If elected to Congress, I would vote against it. Then again, I would vote against any violation of the Constitution.

Snake307 on February 26, 2010 at 2:50 PM

The patriot act is the most abominable, unconstitutional and hateful (from the point of freedom) piece of legislation since the alien and sedition act.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFVQ0HZz2mc
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=97099

nazo311 on February 26, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Better hope we have good federal agents under this liberal administration that won’t use the information they gather for trivial things like not paying every penny for all your income taxes.

V-rod on February 26, 2010 at 3:12 PM

If the Republicans do it, it is evil.

But it magically becomes neutral when Democrats do it.

(They can’t claim it’s a good, because even they know their leftoid loons wouldn’t swallow and entire Murder of Crows.)

profitsbeard on February 26, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Actually, I am a knee jerk conservative, and I don’t like the PATRIOT Act. If elected to Congress, I would vote against it. Then again, I would vote against any violation of the Constitution.

Snake307 on February 26, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Too bad there aren’t many in Washington that agree with you. I wonder how many of our representatives have actually READ the Constitution? Probably only a handful.

nazo311 on February 26, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Do I hear Peter Noone?

There’s a kind of hush…all over the world, tonight…

jrouse9394 on February 26, 2010 at 4:16 PM

I couldn’t find a mention on huffpoo, they hated GW for that. I have been trying to pull up the vote, does anyone know did Feingold vote for it?

wi farmgirl on February 26, 2010 at 7:49 PM

just realized it was the house not the senate.

wi farmgirl on February 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Confusing. Govtrack says the vote was 235-168 with most R’s voting against. What was in the Dems version that chased broad R support?

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2010-73

There was a 315-97 vote about medical physician repayment (doctor fix?).

Ed: Please provide better information than FOX news. They errored on this one.

exdeadhead on February 27, 2010 at 7:22 AM

Comment pages: 1 2