Last week, Congress quietly passed a continuing resolution that will keep the debt piling up through December 20 with the turmoil of the impeachment circus dominating media headlines.
As bad as that news may be, the bill is actually much worse because it keeps the Patriot Act on the books. The legislation extends government authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until March 15, 2020. This includes the infamous Section 215, which includes ubiquitous surveillance and warrantless search authority.
Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who has emerged as one of the top opponents of President Donald Trump and departed the Republican Party largely to protest the administration, noted the hypocrisy of Democrats supporting this measure to give the President more executive authority.
“It’s surreal,” Amash told The New Republic, before adding that “Democrats have highlighted Trump’s abuse of his executive powers, yet they’re teaming up to extend the administration’s authority to warrantlessly gather data on Americans.”
Democrats on the House Rules Committee blocked Amash’s proposed amendment to remove Patriot Act language that was hidden in the budget bill.
They effectively have propped up the Trump administration’s ability to violate the privacy rights of their political opponents, in a showing of bipartisanship at its worst.
“Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi said the president has ‘abused his power for his own personal, political benefit.’ Today, she wants to extend the president’s power to do warrantless surveillance of Americans,” Amash wrote in a Twitter post.
The legislation also extends Call Data Records (CDR) program, which the NSA cannot determine provides any legitimate purpose. Despite its lack of efficacy, the government will not rescind the power for the surveillance state.
“It’s incredibly privacy invasive,” said Jake Laperruque, who works as senior counsel for the Constitution Project at the Project on Government Oversight, to the The American Conservative.
“There’s tens of millions of phone records that are caught up in this. There’s hundreds of thousands of Americans that are caught when they have a warrant for one person,” he added.
Only a handful of Democratic Party lawmakers, including the far-left socialist “Squad” of minority female legislators, had the courage to vote “no” on the Patriot Act re-authorization.
Yeah that’s gonna be a no from me dog https://t.co/O6t8h6zkgs
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 18, 2019
Unfortunately, “draining the swamp” does not mean ending systemic abuses of the 4th Amendment to the Trump administration, which has been weak on Constitutional issues.
Congressional Democrats lack the courage to hold the White House accountable, and instead use their authority to push for impeachment on dubious reasons. These developments show why the approval rating of Congress is perpetually in the toilet.