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USA Patriot and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 - 2

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Location: Washington, DC


USA PATRIOT AND TERRORISM PREVENTION REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 21, 2005)

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AMENDMENT NO. 10 OFFERED BY MR. DANIEL E. LUNGREN OF CALIFORNIA

Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to claim the time in opposition, but I am not opposed to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Virginia?

There was no objection.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) is recognized for 10 minutes.

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this expands the wiretap authority, but it limits the expansion to cases of terrorism. I would say to the gentleman from California and to the chairman, if the rest of the bill had been limited to terrorism, we would not have to be sitting up here arguing half the night.

I agree with the gentleman, we want to be tough on terrorism, but we don't want to open up the entire criminal code to these very expansive powers. So in this case, I think it is an appropriate expansion of the wiretap because it is limited to terrorism, and I thank the gentleman for the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Zoe Lofgren).

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. I would like to join my colleague from Virginia in his interest in the security of the Port of Hampton Roads.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment is well drafted to target the problem of port security. It closes an apparent oversight in the fact that it is not a Federal crime for a vessel operator to fail to stop when ordered to do so by a Federal law enforcement officer, and makes it clear that that is a crime. The penalties are increased penalties, but not mandatory minimums, so the increases will make sense.

I will not, however, be supporting the amendment because it has several new death penalties in it. It has death penalties, some of which push the envelope on constitutionality, because some can be imposed even if there is no intent to kill; they are broad enough to even include deaths which result from violating the stowaway statute.

Mr. Chairman, death penalties cannot be a deterrent to suicide bombers, so that part of the bill I think would not be helpful in terms of port security. What we do need in port security is significant increases in funding for port security, funding for bus and rail security, funding for first responders. That is the kind of thing that will make us safer. As to the other parts of the bill, I would like to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Schiff) and the other cosponsors for their hard work in focusing us on port security, which is desperately needed.

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MODIFICATION TO AMENDMENT NO. 12 OFFERED BY MR. COBLE

Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to modify the amendment with the modification at the desk.

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to claim the time in opposition, although I am not opposed to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Virginia?

There was no objection.

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would point out that the comments of the gentleman from North Carolina and the chairman of the committee have outlined the fact that this has been worked out with all of the parties involved, and we have no objection.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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AMENDMENT NO. 13 OFFERED BY MR. CARTER

Mr. CARTER. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 5 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. It provides for the enactment of extremely controversial provisions which we have had inadequate time to consider. We have not had the opportunity to hear critical testimony on controversial aspects of this bill such as the provision to apply the death penalty to offenses where no death results, the change in alternative jury rules and peremptory challenge rules, another change of the number of jurors needed to impose the death penalty and other changes which could constitute constitutional problems.

Another problem with the bill, it provides for expansion of the Federal death penalty, both for crimes that the supporters of the death penalty might think warrant the death penalty, as well as crimes that most people would not expect to be associated with the most severe of penalties.

This bill does not limit crimes through the death penalty eligibility to the heinous crimes or those who have traditionally been considered severe enough to require either a death penalty or even life without parole.

The bill is so broad that it includes offenses such as those related to protection of computers, property offenses and financial or other material support provisions. Because the bill makes attempts and conspiracies to commit such crimes death penalty eligible, it covers those who may have only had a minor role in the offense. If a death results, even if it was not the specific intended result, anyone who is involved in committing or attempting to commit or conspiring to commit the covert offense would be eligible for the death penalty.

The provisions of this bill create a death penalty liability tantamount to a Federal felony murder rule, and it presents constitutional issues as well as questions of the appropriateness of the death penalty in certain cases.

The provisions of this bill will be duplicative of state jurisdiction laws in many instances and actually conflicting with others. One such conflict would be where a State has chosen not to authorize capital punishment and the Federal Government pursues the death penalty against that State's wishes.

Another concern we always have to consider is expansion of the death penalty when we know that there is a frequent error rate in applying the death penalty. One study showed that 68 percent of the death penalty decisions by the trial court were eventually overturned.

Mr. Chairman, there is another conflict or difficulty that will arise in the efforts to further international cooperation in pursuing suspected terrorists. We are already experiencing difficulties in securing the cooperation of the rest of the civilized world in bringing terrorists to justice due to our existing proliferation of death penalty offenses when other countries will not extradite criminals to the United States if they will be subject to the death penalty. When we add these difficulties to the other controversial issues as to whether someone who supports an organization's social or humanitarian programs knows that it has been designated as a terrorist organization it can only exacerbate the difficulty and further undermine United States efforts.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, the sponsor of the amendment mentioned that hearing we had. I would remind him that the hearing was a hearing on habeas corpus, also the same hearing we heard the issue of the question of whether the death penalty deters murder or other crimes, and this bill. We were given one witness to cover all of that. Our witness covered habeas corpus. We did not have the opportunity to invite a witness to discuss this bill and the policy implications of death penalty where no death occurs and alternate jury rules, peremptory challenges, the number of jurors needed to impose a death penalty, all of these death penalties involved.

So to suggest that that was a fair hearing, I think, does not do justice to actually what happened on that day and the consideration of this bill.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Zoe Lofgren), a member of the committee.

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

As the gentleman said, we had a little piece of a hearing, but it was not much; and we did not have the opportunity to discuss this bill. It was not marked up in subcommittee or the committee. The committee elected not to make it part of the bill, and I would hope that we would make the same decision and defer this until it can be appropriately considered. I oppose the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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AMENDMENT NO. 14 OFFERED BY MS. HART

Ms. HART. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment emphasizes a point that we are trying to do this on the floor without a mark-up, and it may have many unintended consequences. Despite the name of the title, the title of the amendment is "Combating Terrorism Financing Act of 2005," but if you read the provisions, it is not limited to terrorism financing but for all violations of economic sanctions imposed under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. I mean, a senior citizen who has traveled to Cuba on a bicycle excursion or a clergy attempting to send humanitarian services or supplies to Cuba could get caught up in this.

It talks about misuse of Social Security numbers so if somebody misuses a Social Security number to get a job, having nothing to do with terrorism, just is cheating to get a job, they could get caught up in this. It raises questions about sending money to your relatives back home. All of this is implicated in this amendment. It obviously covers terrorism, but we do not know what else it covers. People who get caught up in this are looking at 20-year sentences.

Money-laundering statutes are already very broadly written, and this just broadens it even further. I would hope we would defeat the amendment so we could have some time to make sure it could be limited to terrorism financing and just not every violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and other kinds of money-laundering statutes.

We also have had not an opportunity to hear from people that may be involved in this, organizations helping immigrant populations, banks or other agencies that may have an interest in this who we just have not had time to hear from to know what their reaction would be. So I would hope that we would defeat the amendment so we could have more time to consider it.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Zoe Lofgren).

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