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.