Rep. Eshoo Introduces Legislation To Protect Civil Liberties
April 26, 2006
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) yesterday introduced an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2007 expressing the sense of the Congress that all electronic surveillance of individuals within the United States must comply with the personal freedom protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and be conducted according to the established guidelines of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congresswoman Eshoo has been a vocal critic of the Bush Administration's warrantless electronic eavesdropping on American citizens and has called on Congress to play its proper role in addressing the legality of the NSA wiretapping program.
Despite the fact that the Eshoo Amendment was limited to expressing a legally non-binding sense of the Congress, the Republican majority on the House Rules Committee ruled it out of order, blocking it from consideration on the floor of the full House.
"My amendment created nothing new in terms of regulations or legal framework. It simply restated the rules that have defined our individual freedoms since our nation's founding," said Eshoo. "Our government agencies and our elected officials are bound to abide by the Constitution and our nation's laws, yet this Administration has chosen to circumvent the law and allow, for the first time ever, completely warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens. My amendment was about upholding the sanctity of the Constitution, and declaring it is the sense of Congress that the law must be upheld. Nonetheless, the Republican Majority on the Rules Committee denied me the opportunity to offer my amendment."
The text of the Eshoo Amendment, as well as Congresswoman Eshoo's remarks from the floor of the House during consideration of H.R. 5020, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2007, are available at https://eshoo.house.gov/.