Friday, December 16, 2005

The Senate Collapse on the Patriot Act

Earlier today, the Senate blocked the renewal of major portions of the Patriot Act. Led by Democrat Senator Russ Feingold, the bill was successfully blocked with the final vote coming at 52-47.

Five Republicans voted against the reauthorization: Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Larry Craig of Idaho, and Majority Leader Bill Frist.

This is unfortunate news for the president and his administration, and for the American people. The extension of the Patriot Act is a crucial part of successfully fighting the war on terrorism, and the Democrats in the Senate have now severely limited the abilities of our intelligence agencies in preventing the next terror attack on American soil.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan:
In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without these vital tools for a single moment. The time for Democrats to stop standing in the way has come."

There is no good way to spin this, but some crafty planning in the original drafting of the Patriot Act offers some refreshing news to our intelligence agencies:
If a compromise is not reached, the 16 Patriot Act provisions expire on Dec. 31, but the expirations have enormous exceptions. Investigators will still be able to use those powers to complete any investigation that began before the expiration date and to initiate new investigations of any alleged crime that began before Dec. 31, according to a provision in the original law. There are ongoing investigations of every known terrorist group, including al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad and the Zarqawi group in Iraq, and all the Patriot Act tools could continue to be used in those investigations.

Nontheless, the defeatist Dems have scored again at the expense of the weakened Republican majority. The five Republicans who sided with the Dems allowed this collpase, and their votes are yet another GOP cave-in. The Republican Senate Majority cannot keep falling apart on crucial issues of national security if it expects to remain a majority.

UPDATE:

Hugh Hewitt has the contact information of the five Republican senators who voted to ban the Patriot Act, and urges you to demand to speak with them about why the voted against the bill.

Perhaps bring up this:
[The Democrats'] hatred of Bush has forced them into an obbsessive rage that has clouded their judgment even about their --and the nation's-- survival.