Thursday, July 25, 2013

Illinois congressional delegation offers strong bipartisan support for continued NSA survelliance of Americans


There can't be too many votes in Congress on which Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-9) and Adam Kitzinger (R-16) agree, but they agreed yesterday to oppose the amendment (pictured above) offered by Rep. Justin Amish (R-MI) to the defense appropriations bill that would have, according to this Reuters account, "limited the National Security Agency's ability to collect electronic information, including phone call records."

The amendment was designed to defund the surveillance program based on expansive interpretation being given to 50 U.S.C. §1861 by the Obama Administration (which is, according to your political allegiance, either a continuation of a policy begun in the Bush Administration or an inordinate expansion of that policy), allowing massive data collection, including (at least) telephone calling records of ordinary American citizens.

You will see, from time to time, reference to §215 of the Patriot Act in connection with news accounts about data collection on ordinary Americans. Section 215 of the Patriot Act rewrote 50 U.S.C. §§1861-1863 (§1863 has been repealed, §1862 obliges the Attorney General to report on an annual basis to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate). Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.), who helped write the law that is the basis for the NSA's activities, is on record as saying he didn't expect it could be used to support a massive data-gathering program (he supported Amash's amendment). For the convenience of the lawyers who visit this site, I've reproduced 50 U.S.C. §1861 on Page Two of the blog (lawyers like to look at source materials and decide things for themselves).

The amendment failed on a vote of 205-217 (with 12 members not voting). The Reuters account says "94 Republicans [voted] in favor and 134 against, while 111 Democrats supported the amendment and 83 opposed it."

I found two sites showing roll call votes (the House clerk's site and The Guardian).

From these sources, it appears 12 members of the Illinois Congressional delegation voted against the amendment. They are:
  • Robin Kelly (D-2)
  • Daniel Lipinski (D-3)
  • Luis GutiĆ©rrez (D-4)
  • Mike Quigley (D-5)
  • Peter Roskam (R-6)
  • Tammy Duckworth (D-8)
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-9)
  • Brad Schneider (D-10)
  • Bill Foster (D-11)
  • William Enyart (D-12)
  • John Shimkus (R-15)
  • Adam Kitzinger (R-16)
Four voted in favor of the amendment. They are:
  • Bobby Rush (D-1)
  • Danny Davis (D-7)
  • Rodney Davis (R-13)
  • Randy Hultgren (R-14)
Two members of the Illinois delegation did not vote. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-17) traveled with the President to Knox College yesterday for his speech. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-18) also did not vote. (I did see that the time allotted to the vote was shorter than allegedly customary -- only two minutes, as opposed to five or 15.)

In other news, Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) found themselves on the same side of this vote as well (they both voted against the amendment).

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