Democrats Vote Against Patriot Act Extentions, Then Bash Republicans Over Their Defeat

U.S. Great Seal Obverse

Check out these two news reports. Hypocrisy, politics, or both?

Simmi Aujla reports in the Politico:

Top House Democrats pounced on Republicans’ mishandling of a routine vote Tuesday evening, which caused a bill to extend provisions of the Patriot Act go down in defeat.

The Democrats said Wednesday morning that the failed vote is a sign that Republican leaders aren’t prepared to handle the practical difficulties of governing.

“I don’t think they’ve found their center yet,” Democratic Caucus conference chair Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said. “It seems they’re coming apart at the seams.”

Rank-and-file Republicans threw off Republican leaders’ plans for the measure, which was expected to pass easily, when a large enough number bucked their party and voted no. The measure fell short of the two-thirds vote it needed by 13 votes.

But Greg Sargent reports in the Washington Post:

Yesterday, a vote on reauthorizing three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act failed after most Democrats and a few Republicans voted against it. So does the vote represent a new Tea Party revolt against big government? Hardly. Republicans hate the welfare state, not the surveillance state.

Only 26 Republicans voted against the bill, and there are 52 members of the Republican Tea Party Caucus, whose chairperson, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn)  voted for reauthorization along with most of the rest of her caucus. As Slate‘s Dave Weigel  points out, only eight of the 26 were Republican freshmen elected last November. One hundred and twenty-two Democrats voted against reauthorization, I suspect most of them just because they could.

So how did the bill fail? Basically Republicans were trying to pass the bill under “suspension of the rules,” which is considered the process for passing “noncontroversial” legislation.  You need a two thirds majority of those present to pass bills that way. For one brief night, Republicans in the House learned what it was like to be a Democrat in the Senate.

Sadly, the revolt probably won’t last, as there are more than the 218 votes needed to pass reauthorization under normal procedures. What’s uncertain is whether the reauthorization will contain mild oversight provisions, and when the provisions will actually sunset. As Cato’s Julian Sanchez notes, there are two Democratic Senate versions that reauthorize these provisions for three years, but the Republican House version sunsets them until December 2011, while the Republican Senate proposal makes them permanent. Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy’s  version of the bill would reign in Section 215 orders and provide some key oversight over the use of the widely abused National Security Letters, but those modest reforms were too much for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), so she introduced an alternate bill without them.

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, if the Dems do have to attack the Republican’ts (and what would a cat do BUT kill a mouse?), at least they’re doing it with the officially sanctioned Nerf(tm) rhetoric that can do no real harm.

    God forbid they should actually attack the Right Wing over any of their substantive policy failures, like domestic spying programs, eternal warfare, corporate welfare, environmental and other business deregulation, etc., etc.

    In the hierarchy of American political sins, anything is forgiveable provided it doesn’t pose a real challenge to anyone.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, if the Dems do have to attack the Republican’ts (and what would a cat do BUT kill a mouse?), at least they’re doing it with the officially sanctioned Nerf(tm) rhetoric that can do no real harm.

    God forbid they should actually attack the Right Wing over any of their substantive policy failures, like domestic spying programs, eternal warfare, corporate welfare, environmental and other business deregulation, etc., etc.

    In the hierarchy of American political sins, anything is forgiveable provided it doesn’t pose a real challenge to anyone.

    • Hadrian999

      if they actually attack right wing policy people might notice it is their policy too. there have been no substantive changes to american domestic of foreign policy since the democratic party took over

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Well, that’s exactly what I was getting at, even if I phrased it in a more roundabout way. Whatever the fuck the Dems are saying, what they’re actually DOING takes the sting out it.

        Metaphorically I imagined it as the Dems waving a Nerf(tm) hatchet over the heads of the Republican’ts.

        • Andrew

          Nurse Ratched with a Nerf hatchet.

        • Hadrian999

          sorry, I’m so damn cold I can barely think

          • Liam_McGonagle

            No, I think you were right about that. I think I got a little too cryptic there.

            Yeah, it certainly is a bitch out there today, ain’t it? I’m sure parts of Illinois have it as bad as Wisconsin.

  • Hadrian999

    if they actually attack right wing policy people might notice it is their policy too. there have been no substantive changes to american domestic of foreign policy since the democratic party took over

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, that’s exactly what I was getting at, even if I phrased it in a more roundabout way. Whatever the fuck the Dems are saying, what they’re actually DOING takes the sting out it.

    Metaphorically I imagined it as the Dems waving a Nerf(tm) hatchet over the heads of the Republican’ts.

  • Andrew

    Nurse Ratched with a Nerf hatchet.

  • Andrew

    Nurse Ratched with a Nerf hatchet.

  • Hadrian999

    sorry, I’m so damn cold I can barely think

  • Liam_McGonagle

    No, I think you were right about that. I think I got a little too cryptic there.

    Yeah, it certainly is a bitch out there today, ain’t it? I’m sure parts of Illinois have it as bad as Wisconsin.

  • hunter349

    I’m glad it failed. The sad news however is that it only failed because of the procedure they used that did not allow amendments or debate and required a larger than normal number of votes to pass. They will certainly resubmit it for passage using regular procedures and it will pass the house. It will then Be up to the Senate to shoot it down which they show no real desire to do. Obama will not veto an extension. He has already approved an extension before and no administration likes to give up authority once they have been given it.

    We had a very reasonable system before the patriot act. If you were suspected of something and they wanted to read your E-Mail or bug your phone all they had to do was get a judge to issue a warrant. In most cases a warrant could be issued in a matter of hours or even minutes. Now all they have to do is say the word terrorism and they can invade your privacy with no warrant at all.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad it failed. The sad news however is that it only failed because of the procedure they used that did not allow amendments or debate and required a larger than normal number of votes to pass. They will certainly resubmit it for passage using regular procedures and it will pass the house. It will then Be up to the Senate to shoot it down which they show no real desire to do. Obama will not veto an extension. He has already approved an extension before and no administration likes to give up authority once they have been given it.

    We had a very reasonable system before the patriot act. If you were suspected of something and they wanted to read your E-Mail or bug your phone all they had to do was get a judge to issue a warrant. In most cases a warrant could be issued in a matter of hours or even minutes. Now all they have to do is say the word terrorism and they can invade your privacy with no warrant at all.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad it failed. The sad news however is that it only failed because of the procedure they used that did not allow amendments or debate and required a larger than normal number of votes to pass. They will certainly resubmit it for passage using regular procedures and it will pass the house. It will then Be up to the Senate to shoot it down which they show no real desire to do. Obama will not veto an extension. He has already approved an extension before and no administration likes to give up authority once they have been given it.

    We had a very reasonable system before the patriot act. If you were suspected of something and they wanted to read your E-Mail or bug your phone all they had to do was get a judge to issue a warrant. In most cases a warrant could be issued in a matter of hours or even minutes. Now all they have to do is say the word terrorism and they can invade your privacy with no warrant at all.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad it failed. The sad news however is that it only failed because of the procedure they used that did not allow amendments or debate and required a larger than normal number of votes to pass. They will certainly resubmit it for passage using regular procedures and it will pass the house. It will then Be up to the Senate to shoot it down which they show no real desire to do. Obama will not veto an extension. He has already approved an extension before and no administration likes to give up authority once they have been given it.

    We had a very reasonable system before the patriot act. If you were suspected of something and they wanted to read your E-Mail or bug your phone all they had to do was get a judge to issue a warrant. In most cases a warrant could be issued in a matter of hours or even minutes. Now all they have to do is say the word terrorism and they can invade your privacy with no warrant at all.

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