Prophecy of Noah

The Bizarre Flip-Floppers: 13 Reps Who Voted To Stop Patriot Act Spying 2 Years Ago, But Voted To Continue It Yesterday

from the oddities dept

We’ve already noted that there were quite a few oddities in the group of Representatives who voted against the Amash Amendment yesterday, effectively giving their stamp of approval of the NSA spying on every single American. But, the strangest of all were those who had spoken out against the very same program in the past. We noted a few who had spoken out years ago, but the Long Strange Journey blog noticed that there are 13 Representatives who voted against extending parts of the Patrtiot Act (including the provision that the Amash Amendment sought to clarify to stop mass data collection), but then voted against the amendment yesterday.

In other words, these 13 Representatives had no problem killing off this data collection program two years ago. They didn’t think that ending such a data collection program would put us all at risk or whatever FUD was being spread about why all Americans needed to have their data sucked up by the NSA — but, yesterday it suddenly became so important that they couldn’t vote to stop it? The 2011 vote is here and yesterday’s vote is here. The list is led by Nancy Pelosi, who is generating a lot of disappointment from her constituents who aren’t happy about NSA spying. Two years ago, she led the charge to stop excessive surveillance and to include more privacy protections. When it failed, she made a statement regretting better privacy protections for Americans:

“Today Congress failed to seize the opportunity to enact measures and improvements needed to preserve Americans’ privacy and to incorporate oversight and compliance with the law. In addition, Congress failed to consider meaningful reforms to National Security Letters to address documented abuses. Instead, we were left to vote only on a long extension of some of the most controversial and troubling aspects of the PATRIOT Act.

“Moving forward, we must ensure that we can protect the American people, and protect and defend the Constitution.”

She had a chance to do that yesterday, but she chose the other side. This was almost certainly political. The White House certainly got spooked that the Amash Amendment might pass, and it seems likely that it put tremendous pressure on Pelosi to side with them — and to coax other Democrats to vote with her. Nearly all of the other 12 listed below who voted against extending this provision of the Patriot Act in 2011, but to allow it to continue yesterday, were likely pressured by Pelosi.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California
  • Rep. Eliot Engel, New York
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida
  • Rep. Mike Thompson, California
  • Rep. Bob Andrews, New Jersey
  • Rep. Al Green, Texas
  • Rep. Luis Guitierrez, Illinois
  • Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Hawaii
  • Rep. Rick Larsen, Washington
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas
  • Rep. Edith Bernice Johnson, Texas
  • Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio

I would hope that the constituents of these 13 Democrats would reach out to their Representatives and find out why they flip-flopped their vote, from protecting American’s privacy to suddenly having no problem with the NSA collecting all their data. If these 13 had stayed true to their earlier vote, the Amash Amendment would have passed and the NSA collection of all data on Americans would have been stopped.