Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who has come under fire recently for his support of increased tax revenues, is now sounding off on the upcoming reauthorization vote for FISA. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to allow at least some amendments, some of which would protect the privacy of Americans, to be voted on by the chamber before the bill is pushed forward for a final vote.
Unfortunately, Chambliss believes that no votes on these amendments are necessary and that Reid should just pass the bill, apparently with no questions asked:
Senator Saxby Chambliss, apparently with no regard to the Constitution or the privacy of the public he’s supposed to represent, has apparently complained that any debate is a waste of time after Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to bring up the issue.Reid wanted S. 3276 to be considered with a limited number of amendments, but Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) objected and said he didn’t understand why the Senate couldn’t just pass the House FISA bill. He referred to a letter stating that the Obama administration supports the House-version.So, apparently, as long as the White House wants to trample on Americans’ 4th Amendment Rights, and there’s a House version that was passed because Representatives misrepresented or lied about what was in the bill, the Senate should just approve it? Yikes. We deserve better. We should absolutely demand that Congress debate this issue, and not rubber stamp it.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), an advocate of civil liberties protections, has drafted an amendment to the FISA bill — the “Fourth Amendment Protection Act” — that would, if passed, reiterate the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
The amendment, which is designed to protect Americans against searches of their cell phone records and other similar third-party service providers, recognizes that the civil liberties of Americans are “violated when the government acquires information voluntarily relinquished by a person to another party for a limited business purpose without the express informed consent of the person to the specific request by the government or a Warrant, upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation.”
Protecting the civil liberties of Americans against warrantless searches and seizures should be the paramount concern of members of Congress, particularly in the Senate, which is known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” With FISA set to expire at the end of the year, failure to bring these amendments to a vote could pose significant problems for Senate leadership.