Thursday, June 16, 2005
It seems the House just voted to LIMIT governmental powers, vis a vis the PATRIOT Act. It must be snowing in Hell.
House Votes to Limit Patriot Act Rules
By ANDREW TAYLOR
The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 15, 2005; 8:19 PM
WASHINGTON -- In a slap at President Bush, lawmakers voted Wednesday to block the Justice Department and the FBI from using the Patriot Act to peek at library records and bookstore sales slips.
The House voted 238-187 despite a veto threat from Bush to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that allows the government to investigate the reading habits of terror suspects.
The vote reversed a narrow loss last year by lawmakers concerned about the potential invasion of privacy of innocent library users. They narrowed the proposal this year to permit the government to continue to seek out records of Internet use at libraries.
The vote came as the House debated a $57.5 billion bill covering the departments of Commerce, Justice and State. The Senate has yet to act on the measure, and GOP leaders often drop provisions offensive to Bush during final negotiations.
"This is a tremendous victory that restores important constitutional rights to the American people," said Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., the sponsor of the measure. He said the vote would help "rein in an administration intent on chipping away at the very civil liberties that define us as a nation."
Congress is preparing to extend the Patriot Act, which was passed quickly in the emotional aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Then, Congress included a sunset provision under which 15 of the law's provisions are to expire at the end of this year.