Patriot Act Renewal Fails To Pass In House

But only because Speaker Boehner, more confident than perhaps he should have been in the bill’s passage, brought it to the floor in a “fast track” maneuver that skips the amendment process and other procedures. Doing it that way requires a 2/3’s majority to pass in the House.

The bill got a majority, but not 2/3’s:

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A bill to extend three provisions of the Patriot Act and Intelligence Reform bill that are due to expire next month failed to win approval Tuesday from the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House voted 277-148 in favor of the bill, which fell short of the 284 votes needed to pass, because it was considered under a House rule that required a two-thirds majority.

In the vote, 26 Republicans joined 122 Democrats in opposing the bill that would have extended the provisions through December 8, 2011.

This will eventually pass. The bill will be re-introduced (Rep. Lamar Alexander is already promising to do so) and pass through the normal procedures requiring only a simple majority to pass, but it is a bit of a surprise. Once the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 national security provisions were almost always assured passage through Congress.

But these days things have changed.

By the way, I am seeing headlines suggesting that the “tea party” was responsible for this. Certainly some members of Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus were in on this, including Rep. Paul Broun, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Rep. Walter Jones, but Bachmann herself voted for extending the legislation as did Rep. Allen West.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Mountainmouth

    It was difficult to pass when you had trustworthy people running the show – This regime in power now has not proven themselves to be anything more than thugs. You only have to start with the New Black Panther voter intimidation case to see how the can not be trusted – many instances have followed.

    • Neiman

      Your proved one reason why the Patriot Act should not be renewed; that is, because we can not always trust those in power at top to use it in our best interest.

      Either we mean we what say and say what we truly believe or it is all nonsense. If the Patriot Act in any shape, manner or form violates any part of the Bill of Rights, no matter in how minor a way, no matter how lofty the goal, violating the Constitution is bad no matter which party is involved. Either we defend the Bill of Rights from every one that would desire to amend it outside the consent of the governed through the Amendment Process; or we are just hypocrites, saying it is bad when Democrats violate the Constitution, but not so bad when it is Republicans.

  • Brenarlo

    The patriot act was passed in even worse ways than Obamacare was. It’s a bigger infringement on our freedoms than Obamacare.

    The so-called patriot act is contrary to everything that America is supposed to be about.

  • David P

    What planet are you living on Brenarlo? The Patriot Act comes nowhere near infringing on my freedoms than Obamacare. It may infringe on my so-called right to privacy (found nowhere in the Constitution), but as a citizen with nothing to hide it effects me not in the least. Yes, in principle it effects everyone, but in reality it only effects the criminals we are looking for. We don’t even know yet all that’s in Obamacare, but we already know that it’s going to cost every citizen more than they were paying before.

    • John Reed

      How simplistic can your thinking get? The Bill of Rights was not included in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers because they were a group of criminals. The point of rights, like the Fourth Amendment’s right against unreasonable search and seizure, is that once denied to criminals, they are ultimately denied to political activists too. We live in a time when habeas corpus has been suspended for nearly ten years, and most of the Bill of Rights has also been suspended, and with the president’s sole discretion you may be deemed one whom comforts or aids terrorism and murdered without charge or trial. Our fathers and their fathers and all of our forefathers fought and died to maintain the freedoms you now so sheepishly wish to surrender, making us no more free than was the old Soviet Union.

      When I was growing up, my father told me stories about police check points, the need for identity papers, nations of informants, the terrible prisons, the political persecutions, and the lack of rights in communist countries, and he made me proud to be an American because we were different. Well, since 911 we have ceased to be different. The aim of any terrorist act is to get the government to crack down on civil liberties in the hope the people will ultimately rebel against the oppression, and thinking like yours plays right into that goal. Why do we need to surrender our historic rights when terrorists have been able to walk across our southern border at will with any kind of weapon for the last ten years? If the war on terror were real, that border would have been closed completely within days of 911.

    • Kenny

      And if you were a loyal Japanese American, you had nothing to fear from FDR’s camps.

      If you don’t care that your rights are infringed, that’s fine. The rest of us do.

      The right to be left alone is the most fundamental right there is. Those who would poo-poo it because the exact phrasing is not in the Constitution are inviting disaster.