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Stabenow & Peters both vote for legislation that extends the USA Patriot Act

December 4, 2019

A few weeks ago, Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both voted in favor of legislation that included a three month extension on the USA Patriot Act.

What is worse, is that there were no reforms included to curb the draconian legislation that has has bi-partisan legislation since it was signed into law in October of 2001.

The legislation in question also included funding for social programs, which is a tactic used by both parties to get their issues passed. The tactic of “hiding” the funding for certain programs has become more common in recent decades, making it harder for the public to know about or decipher.

In this case it was an Appropriations Act that was adopted by the Senate, with a majority  of Senate Democrats voting to support it.

Evan Greer, who is with the group Fight for the Future, is quoted as saying about this vote: 

“When the Patriot Act’s surveillance authorities were initially enacted, they came with a ‘sunset’ clause to safeguard against the exact scenario where we had an authoritarian, racist, openly fascist president. And yet here we are and top Dems are still supporting reauthorization.”

However, in many ways this is not surprising, when one considers that even during the first term of President Obama, where the Democrats not only controlled the White House, they controlled Congress and STILL voted to keep the USA Patriot Act.

The USA Patriot Act would have ended on December 15 of this year, but it is not extended until March 15 of 2020. One of the main concerns about this draconian legislation is the ability of the US government to collect data and engage in monitoring of all of its residents. This type of monitoring of the public includes wire tapping, collecting data on phone calls, business record and it grants the FBI surveillance powers.

A spokesperson from the ACLU responded to the extension of the USA Patriot Act last month, stating:

“It is disappointing that Congress is instead extending spying powers that have repeatedly been used to violate Americans’ privacy rights, and trying to bury this extension in must-pass funding legislation.”

This is just further evidence that we cannot rely on politicians to represent us or protect even basic civil rights and civil liberties.

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