The American Civil Liberties Union and the Tea Party Patriots have joined forces to campaign against the re-authorization of the Patriot Act. The two groups are running joint ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, urging the Senate to stop the government snooping.
MSNBC writes, “The unlikely duo’s television ads, which begin Tuesday in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C., call on Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to help reform parts of the Patriot Act in order to rein in NSA surveillance of Americans.”
A narrator says, “The federal government surveillance program has collected records on nearly every Americans’ phone calls, emails — your most private moments — without a warrant, without cause and without your permission.”
“When Washington invades your privacy, they’ve gone too far,” the narrator concludes.
As I’ve written before, the Senate is in a bit of pickle, with the Republicans fighting over what version of the Patriot Act to re-authorize. McConnell and Rubio want the entire thing including the controversial Section 215 authorizing the government to collect your phone records; Senators Lee and Cruz prefer the USA Freedom Act, which doesn’t allow the government surveillance dragnet; and Senator Rand Paul has thrown down entirely, threatening to filibuster the Patriot Act if it is re-authorized with the snooping provision in place.
Other pro-snooping politicians include Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, so make a note.
Polling released by the ACLU this week showed that voters in both parties overwhelmingly support reforming the NSA. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, 61 percent of voters believe Congress should “modify the Patriot Act to limit government surveillance and protect Americans’ privacy,” the poll found. Twenty-eight percent of likely Iowan voters and 33 percent of likely voters in New Hampshire disagreed, and said that Congress could renew the law unchanged.
The Washington Examiner is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has caved on the Patriot Act, and will bring the USA freedom Act to the floor. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he will allow a vote on the USA Freedom Act, despite his opposition to the legislation.”
“I certainly think we ought to allow a vote on the House-passed bill,” McConnell said after a private meeting with GOP senators. “If there are not enough votes to pass that, then we need to look at an alternative. And I am not making a prediction right now about how it comes out.”
Time is running out for the Patriot Act — it will sunset on June 1st. With the Senate and Congress leaving for their Memorial Day week-long vacation, they have about three days to move on a bill or let the Patriot Act expire entirely.