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Act Now: GOP Moves to Repeal PATRIOT Act's Sunset Provisions

Information and action item related to latest push.

In a move perhaps meant to provide them with a consolation prize in the wake of having their PATRIOT Act II surprise spoiled, Congressional Republicans are moving to repeal the sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act:

Working with the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said today.
The move is likely to touch off strong objections from many Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress who believe that the Patriot Act, as the legislation that grew out of the attacks is known, has already given the government too much power to spy on Americans.

Currently, some (but not all) of the powers granted by the PATRIOT Act are scheduled to expire in 2005. If this push, prompted by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), succeeds, they would join the rest of the PATRIOT Act as permanent law enforcement authorities, barring further action by Congress to restrict or repeal them.

Republicans may seek to move on the proposal this week by trying to attaching it to another antiterrorism bill that would make it easier for the government to use secret surveillance warrants against "lone wolf" terrorism suspects.

Which means it's time to call your elected officials in Congress again.

The bill in question, to which this PATRIOT Act sunset repeal might be attached, is S 113:

A bill to exclude United States persons from the definition of "foreign power" under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 relating to international terrorism.

So, call your members of Congress, and express your "opposition to any potential move to repeal the sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, a move which may come as an amendment to S 113."

Since this is a Senate bill, focus on Senators Wyden and Smith. But there's no particular reason not to also contact House members -- just make sure to acknowledge that although it's starting in the Senate, you wanted to urge your Representatives to resist this push if/when it crosses over to the House.

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Amendment 09.Apr.2003 12:21

MickGuffin mickguffin@hotmail.com

Now, I'm not a Lawyer and I don't play one on TV... but I read both versions of the amendment and do not see where they are repealing the sunset provisions. This is the only language I found that refers to the Sunset act.
(b) SUNSET- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall be subject to the sunset provision in section 224 of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-56; 115 Stat. 295), including the exception provided in subsection (b) of such section 224.

Perhaps the language has not been added yet. Please fill me in.


that's not the amendment 09.Apr.2003 13:41

Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee

That's from the text of S 113 itself, which is the bill to which Hatch may attach his sunset-repealing amendment. That text refers to the "lone wolf" wiretap provisions of S 113, which would be covered by the referenced sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.

At this stage, it's simply been mentioned that S 113 may be where Hatch goes with his sunset repeal, but it has not yet actually been so attached.

although 09.Apr.2003 13:47

Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Although it is somewhat confusing because the current version of S 113, from which you quoted, is indeed an amendment version presented by Hatch back on March 11, which does indeed place the S 113 provisions firmly within the sunset portions of the USA PATRIOT Act. So the question becomes: If Hatch made S 113 subject to the sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, why would he now be moving to repeal those sunset provisions altogether?