Friday, June 3, 2011

Congressional Votes - May 2011

With the Obama Administration in support, the Patriot Act Reauthorization continues its assault on American civil liberties with approved roving wiretaps on varying communication devices, continued monitoring of library records and other personal information as well as require businesses to turn over private personal information.  

Needing a 2/3 vote, the House of Representatives voted to approve Reauthorization  250 (including 54 Democrats) – 153 (including 122 Democrats)  

In the Senate, Sen. Ron Wyden cited alarm at a secret “classified government reinterpretation” of existing laws and statues that would allow unfettered access to American’s private information.

Senate vote 72-23 to reauthorize the Patriot Act with the following Democrats in opposition:

Akaka (D-HI)                                                              Lautenberg  (D-NJ)
Baucus (D-MT)                                                            Leahy (D-VT)
Begich (D-AK)                                                            Merkley  (D-OR)        
Bingaman (D-NM)                                                       Murray (D-WA)
Brown (D-OH)                                                            Sanders (I –VT)
Cantwell (D-WA)                                                         Testerl (D-MT)
Coons (D-DE)                                                             Udall (D-CO)
Durbin (D-IL)                                                               Udall (D-NM)
Franken (D-MN)                                                         Wyden (D-OR)
Harkin (D-IA)

National Defense Authorization Act of 2012  HR 1540 – included

  • Forever War Amendment to remove language which would allow Presidential authority to initiate military operations without Congressional Approval and negate the War Powers Act.   The Amendment failed 187 (with 166 House Democrats) – 234.
  • Narrowly defeated an amendment to ‘accelerate transition of military operation’ out of Afghanistan on a vote 204 (with 178 Democrats) – 215
 The Act also
      Defunded the U.S. Institute for Peace (at the same cost as 4 hours of the Afghanistan
      Established a new military holiday honoring the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
      Required suspected foreign terrorists to be tried by military and not civil courts.

The Act, adopted on final passage vote of 322 – 96 (90 Democrats) now goes to the Senate Armed Services Committee for action.

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