Eshoo Seeks Constructive Debate on PATRIOT Act

July 21, 2005
Press Release

July 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC -- Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) offered an amendment today to the so-called library provision of H.R. 3199, the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005, but the Republican majority refused to allow consideration of the amendment on the House floor.

"This is an outrageous use of procedural baloney to silence reasonable opposition," said Eshoo. "There's bipartisan support for this amendment in the House and the majority knows it --- that's the only reason this amendment isn't being considered."

The amendment, sponsored by Eshoo and Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vermont), would have eliminated the so-called library provision of the U.S. PATRIOT Act. As the provision currently stands, the FBI is allowed to obtain library circulation records, patron lists, bookstore records, and customer lists without a warrant or grand jury subpoena.

Just a little over one month ago, an amendment was offered to H.R. 2862, the Science, State, Justice & Commerce Appropriations Act for FY 2006, to deny funding for these exact provisions in the PATRIOT Act. The amendment passed the full House on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 238 to 187. Following this, Eshoo offered a corresponding amendment to the PATRIOT Act during a meeting of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on July 14th but the Committee rejected it.

"Section 215 is highly controversial precisely because it threatens our civil liberties," said Eshoo. "The American people recognize that this represents an abuse of power and now their Representatives are not being allowed to speak for them."

Congresswoman Eshoo has served in the House of Representatives since 1993. She has been a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence since 2002.

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