Senator Rand Paul Pushes Back on PATRIOT Act Extension
Three-year extension is defeated, stage set for debate in 90 day
February 16, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Below is a statement from Senator Rand Paul (Ky.) regarding his vote against the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and the Senate’s 90-day agreement, which sets the stage for debate and amendments to the renewal legislation.
“The Senate yesterday proposed a three-year extension of the PATRIOT Act, a move that would not have allowed for any hearings, amendments, or debate. I objected to this deal. I realize that I might not have the votes to stop this bill, but we should at least discuss this in public as adults.
“We should have the opportunity to explain why the Constitution is being violated. We should talk about how we do not have to give up who we are in order to fight terrorism. It is not acceptable to willfully ignore the most basic provisions of our Constitution—in this case—the Fourth and First Amendments—in the name of ‘security.’
“As Senators, we should be able to have debate and offer amendments to try to fix the egregious problems with the PATRIOT Act. And Senate leaders have agreed to this. Within 90 days there will be an open debate and amendments on the PATRIOT Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, publicly committed on the Senate floor this afternoon to a week of examination including amendments and debate. While I oppose any extension of the PATRIOT Act, and will vote no, I do welcome the chance to actually talk about this subject over the next few months.
“This victory for discussion was only possible because we stood firm when they pressed for the three-year extension. It is only possible because liberty-loving Americans are standing up. For us to prevail in 90 days, more will need to do so.
“I will stand and fight. I will offer amendments to address the problems with the bill, and I will attempt to convince my colleagues that our oath to uphold the Constitution should always be our first priority as Senators of the United States.