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USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC

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


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from California for yielding me this time.

I rise in support of the Paul amendment and, in addition, in reluctant opposition to H.R. 3199 for several reasons.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, I watched as Members of Congress came together in a bipartisan effort to craft legislation which would, it was argued, strengthen law enforcement's hand in fighting terrorists. Americans from across the political spectrum were willing to sacrifice some of the freedoms we cherish to immediately address security concerns, with the understanding that many provisions would be revisited and the civil liberty protections that we all hold so dear would be addressed.

But by making these provisions permanent, without mandatory congressional review, we placed the very democracy that we hold so dear in jeopardy. When restricting civil liberties, we should be extremely careful about forfeiting those freedoms without reviewing the ongoing need to continue to restrict them.

In these contemporary times, it may be difficult for us to conceive of the barbarous proceedings of the Salem witch trials. Indeed, they continue to perplex and horrify those of us who came later. But imagine if those perceptions and resulting actions were somehow a permanent part of our society today without an opportunity for review as to their validity?

If they were, under the PATRIOT Act's intrusive infringement on America's book purchases and library records, when the most recent episode in the Harry Potter Book series was released last Friday, we would have had hundreds of thousands of children ``burned at the stake.''

And I know this analogy might seem a bit extreme, but that is just how extreme things can become without proper checks and balances when restricting our civil liberties and freedoms, which is why we should support the Paul amendment, because true freedom of expression is an important thing to preserve.

I am hopeful that when this legislation comes back from conference that we will have a product that we can all embrace, but today I will vote for freedom. I will support the Paul amendment and I will vote against final passage of this version of the bill.


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