USA PATRIOT ACT ADDITIONAL REAUTHORIZING AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 07, 2006)
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Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, contrary to its proponents' claims, S. 2271 fails to address the constitutional flaws in the PATRIOT Act or protect innocent Americans against future abuses of their civil liberties. Rather, passing this bill makes the permanent authorization of most of the act inevitable. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to vote against S. 2271 in order to force the House and Senate to craft a new legislation giving the government the tools necessary to fight terrorism without sacrificing constitutional liberties.
The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee essentially admitted that S. 2271 does nothing to address the core concerns constitutionalists and civil libertarians have with the PATRIOT Act. In fact, he has announced his intention to introduce his own PATRIOT Act reform bill! However, if S. 2271 passes and PATRIOT Act extension becomes law, it is highly unlikely that this Congress will consider any other PATRIOT Act reform legislation.
USA Today's Editorial of March 1, ``Patriot Act `compromise' trades liberty for safety,'' accurately describes how people concerned about individual liberty should react to S. 2271's ``reforms'': ``Big Deal. By any standard of respect for the Bill of Rights, those provisions never should have been in the law in the first place. What is it about the Fourth Amendment (`The right of the people to be secure ..... against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated') that Congress doesn't get?''
Among S. 2271's flaws are provisions restricting recipients of a ``gag'' order regarding government seizure of private records from seeking judicial review of such orders for a year and requiring that recipients prove government officials acted in ``bad faith,'' a ridiculously high standard, simply to be able to communicate that the government has ordered them to turn over private records. The bill also requires that recipients of National Security Letters, which can be abused to sidestep the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, provide the FBI with the names of any attorneys from whom they have sought legal counsel from. S. 2271 would thus prohibit a National Security Letter recipient from even asking a lawyer for advice on complying with the letter without having to report it to the FBI. In fact, S. 2271 requires National Security Letter recipients to give the FBI the names of anyone they tell about the letter. This provision will likely have a chilling effect on a recipient of a National Security Letters ability to seek legal advice or other assistance in challenging or even complying with the National Security Letter.
Madam Speaker, S. 2271 does not address the fundamental constitutional problems with the PATRIOT Act. To the contrary, S. 2271 will make most of the PATRIOT Act's dramatic expansions of federal power a permanent feature of American life. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to reject this bill and work to ensure government can effectively fight terrorism without sacrificing the liberty of law-abiding Americans.
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