Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


The House has voted to renew the USA Patriot Act in more or less its current form. The vote was 257-171 with Wisconsin's delegation splitting along party lines. Sensenbrenner, Petri, Ryan, and Green voted for the act while Moore, Obey, Kind, and Baldwin all voted against it.

The story is a bit different in the Senate where yesterday the Judiciary Committee reported out a bill that scales back the more controversial provisions of the act. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), the lone vote against the Patriot Act in 2001, addressed Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) yesterday in committee on the Senate version:

"The compromise that you laid out last night does not address everything that I would have liked to have seen revised in this bill. Nor am I happy with some of the changes made in response to requests from some of my colleagues on the other side of the room. But the compromise does address the core concerns that I and others have had about the standard for Section 215 orders, about sneak and peek search warrants, and about meaningful judicial review of Section 215 orders and National Security Letters, including judicial review of the gag rule. It does not go as far on any of these issues as the SAFE Act does, but it does make meaningful changes to current law."

Assuming the Senate passes this version, there's bound to be a battle royal in conference committee to hammer out the changes, and there's little doubt the White House will be putting the pressure on to keep those big brother provisions intact.


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