RECENT VOTES

Patriot Act

This week the House considered H.R. 514, legislation to extend three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act: the "lone wolf" provision, roving wiretaps and access to business records. In 2001, I voted against the Patriot Act because I believed very strongly that it failed to protect our cherished civil liberties. I am still concerned about this and opposed the extension.

The "lone wolf" provision permits surveillance of non-U.S. persons believed to be engaged in international terrorism without first requiring evidence that they are linked somehow to a terrorist organization. The roving wiretap provision allows law enforcement to obtain a wiretap for a single line, which then applies to all phone lines associated with the subject of the wiretap, such as a cell phone or a business phone. The third provision, access to business records, is often referred to as the "library provision". It gives law enforcement access to "any tangible things" during an investigation, including a list of items that a subject has checked out of the library. This provision enlarges the scope of documents that can be sought and lowers the standard requiring a court order for the production of the documents in question.

I have always believed that we must give law enforcement the tools they need to pursue criminals. However, we can do that and still protect our civil liberties. In my opinion, current law does not do that and we shouldn't be extending these provisions. H.R. 514 did receive a simple majority, but because Republican leadership brought it up under suspension of the rules which requires 2/3 support, the bill failed. The House will consider this bill again under a rule that requires only a simple majority for passage, and I expect it to pass at that point. I voted NO. H.R. 514 failed under suspension of the rules and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

210

26

0

5

DEMOCRAT

67

122

0

4

TOTAL

277

148

0

9

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

3

7

0

0