A subset of the Patriot Act expires at the end of this year. Therefore
the Bush administration is pushing Congress to renew them.
Background on the votes this summer on the different versions of the
House vote for reauthorization in July (see how your 'critter voted):
General background on the different sections of the Patriot Act:
The letter in question is excerpted below.
We write to express our deep concern about the draft Patriot Act
reauthorization conference report made available to us early this
afternoon. As you know, the Senate version of the bill, passed by
unanimous consent in July, was itself a compromise that resulted from
intense negotiations by Senators from all sides of the partisan and
ideological divides. Unfortunately, the conference committee draft
retreats significantly from the bipartisan consensus we reached in the
Senate. It does not accomplish what we and many of our colleaguesin the
Senatebelieveis necessary-- a reauthorization bill that continues to
provide law enforcement with the tools to investigate possible terrorist
activity while making reasonable changes to the original law to protect
innocent people from unnecessary and intrusive government surveillance...
For the past several years, our bipartisan coalition has been working
together to highlight and fix the civil liberties problems posed by the
Patriot Act. We introduced the SAFE Act to address those problems, while
still maintaining important law enforcement powers needed to combat
terrorism. We cannot support a conference report that would eliminate
the modest protections for civil liberties that were agreed to
unanimously in the Senate.
The conference report, in its current form, is unacceptable. We hope
that you, as members of the conference committee, will consider making
the changes set forth above. If further changes are not made, we will
work to stop this bill from becoming law. Thank you for your consideration.
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