Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t join several Democrats who spoke on the Senate floor with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) yesterday in his 10.5-hour Patriot Act talkathon, but the Democratic presidential candidate made clear this morning he stands with Rand.
Paul finished his speech shortly before midnight, with his primary opponents present. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was on the floor and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was presiding over the Senate, reading a copy of Foreign Affairs magazine.
Paul was essentially stalling the business Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wanted to get to, protesting what he said was not a fair debate and amendments process on the Patriot Act reauthorization.
“Let me just say this: you know, Rand Paul and I do not have a lot in common on a whole lot of issues, but I think on this issue, we’re coming from the same page,” Sanders told MSNBC.
“I worry very much about the United States moving rapidly into an Orwellian type of society. And, you know, it’s not just that the NSA is collecting virtually avenue phone call made in America, has access to the Web sites that you visit, the e-mails that you send. It’s the private sector knowing what books you’re buying, what food you’re eating, your medical records, banking records — this is really scary stuff. And technology has significantly outpaced legislative ability to protect our privacy,” he added.
Sanders voted against the original Patriot Act and subsequent reauthorizations. Section 215 of the law expires in June.
He called Sen. Pat Leahy’s (D-Vt.) USA Freedom Act “a step forward,” but “I don’t think it goes far enough.”
“There may be enough votes to say, we have got to take a thorough look at the issue of constitutional rights in this country. Look, everybody agrees that terrorism is a real threat. I certainly do. But I think we can protect the American people without undermining the Constitution and the privacy rights of our people,” Sanders added.