Harry Reid Routes Around Rand Paul; Says No Changes To Patriot Act Is 'An Excellent Compromise'

from the do-we-use-different-dictionaries dept

We've been following the Senate leadership (of both major parties) attempts to push through an extension of some controversial Patriot Act surveillance provisions. As noted, the Senate decided to quickly push the matter towards a vote, cutting off outside debate over the provisions. However, that did still leave room for debate on the floor and the introduction of amendments, and some Senators spoke up -- and spoke up vehemently. Rand Paul had a bunch of amendments and threatened to delay things. He pointed out that Senator Harry Reid lied, after promising to "set aside a week's worth of debate" on the Patriot Act. Meanwhile Senators Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Jeff Merkley all spoke out against parts of the Patriot Act and these extensions.

And yet... Senator Reid decided to get around all of that, by using a procedural trick to dump the existing bill and instead attach his bill to what appears to be a totally unrelated House business bill:
Sen. Reid basically killed his current bill and and opted to take up a House small business bill (it's in a form that's considered filibuster-proof as far as starting debate goes). Neither Rand Paul nor anyone else can object to this. Reid then amended the House bill with the entire text of the Patriot Act extension.
Of course, where this gets insane is in Senator Reid's explanation for cutting off all of these complaints and amendments:
"We have worked over the last several days to work something out that I think is an excellent compromise," said Reid on the Senate floor. "Is this bill something everyone in the Congress likes? I think the answer is no. But we all agree it's important legislation.

"I have had many conversations with Senator Paul and tried to come up with a process to allow Senator Paul and others to offer amendments. I have been unsuccessful," Reid said.
I think Senator Reid and I have different dictionaries. How is making no changes and simply extending out the existing law for four years, despite such vocal opposition, "an excellent compromise"? What "compromise" did he make, other than to his principles and his oath to serve the people?

Furthermore, if he tried to allow these Senators to offer amendments, how is cutting them off from being able to offer amendments in line with what he claims he tried to do? Rather than cutting them off and using a procedural trick, why didn't he let them offer amendments?

Either way, it sounds like the extension will be somewhat delayed, meaning that the provisions may lapse for a day or two. Some supporters of the extension are suggesting that this is a horrible thing that will put us all in danger, but that's ridiculous. First of all, existing investigations are grandfathered in, and second of all, it's just a few days.

Perhaps the most ridiculous part of all of this is that one of the reasons why they're saying this needs to be rushed through is that the bill itself needs to be flown to Europe so that the President (who is visiting Europe) can sign it. Do they no realize that these things can be done electronically these days?

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  • icon
    weneedhelp (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 9:15am

    "We have worked over the last several days to work something out that I think is an excellent compromise," - As long as everyone else compromises and not me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      pixelpusher220 (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      Paging the Rand Paul from the elections. Put a hold on this bill. Filibuster it.

      You said you would stop this type of crap.

      Or were you a complete hypocrite?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        hegemon13, 25 May 2011 @ 11:54am

        Re: Re:

        RTFA. The bill is filibuster-proof. Rand Paul has demanded the 30 hours of post-cloture debate that is guaranteed as a part of Reid's asinine maneuver. He has done everything possible to delay and debate this bill, while Reid uses parlor tricks to screw over the American people. Hypocrite? Hardly. He's the only one standing up for the American people against an out-of-control, authoritarian government.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          pixelpusher220 (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 1:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Mr. Smith yawns in his general direction.

          He can still place a hold on it. And it is not filibuster *proof*. Only budget bills are filibuster proof as directed by Senate rules. Reid attached it to a bill already passed int he house that is considered 'must pass'. It now must be sent back to the house since he 'updated' it.

          Paul is apparently filibustering it, or was before Reed switched it to this other bill. If Paul has the stones he'll filibuster that too.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            hegemon13, 26 May 2011 @ 6:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sorry, you're wrong. The rules for the bill Reid attached it to had already been decided. It was a slimeball move. Every explanation of Rand Paul's current parliamentary maneuver states that the bill Reid attached it to cannot be filibustered. Paul is still delaying the bill using the procedures available to him. What else can you ask for? How about you save the outrage for all the jackasses that are not part of the group of 8 senators who actually care? How about you no direct it at the ONE GUY standing up for our rights? Or are you just a blind, left-loving fool who begs for these abuses and has to sling mud at a Republican, even when he's defending you're liberties?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Invi, 25 May 2011 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re:

        "Paging the Rand Paul from the elections. Put a hold on this bill. Filibuster it.

        You said you would stop this type of crap.

        Or were you a complete hypocrite?"

        ..He was on the floor for 7 hours yesterday holding until they voted to table his amendments.. He's trying to do exactly what he said he would, in any way he can.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 9:27am

    None of the Above!

    I have been a Democrat all my life (since the 1950's), but I think that I will be voting for "None of the Above" in the next elections... Shame on Reid!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      HothMonster, 25 May 2011 @ 9:36am

      Re: None of the Above!

      "I will be voting for "None of the Above" in the next elections."

      I wish that was an option on the ballot "I find all of these candidates appalling." So then us non-voters could at least make it known (with a quantifiable number) that its not that we don't care, or are too lazy to vote but we don't think either of the lesser evils is lesser enough to deserve our support.

      Preemptive answer: My last vote was Nader/LeDuke in 2000

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        WookieShampoo, 25 May 2011 @ 9:55am

        Re: Re: None of the Above!

        Vote for a third party. Ron Paul vehemently opposes the patriot act. You can learn http://www.ronpaul2012.com/

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 10:02am

          Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

          Oh, awesome. I didn't know he was running again. To facebook to spread the news.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2011 @ 7:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

            I think i'm going to legally change my name to None of the Above and run for President of the United States. Think anyone will vote for me?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 10:04am

          Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

          Yeah I'm going to look into him again. Sometimes I really like what he says sometimes I think he is a crackpot. But if anyone is getting my vote this election, he is, so far, the most likely candidate.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Simple Mind (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 12:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

            You sometimes think RP is a crackpot because the ones in power want you to think he is a crackpot so you don't vote for him.

            There was recently a piece on the national news (which one? they are all the same) where they gave a 20-30 second intro to all the GOP candidates. Ron Paul they brushed over in 2 seconds by just mentioning his name and that was it.

            The idiot masses are brainwashed and controlled and will continue to vote for that which is not in their best interests.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 12:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

              no its mostly because of the people who try to tell me how awesome Ron Paul is are usually crackpots and they are probably butchering his ideas. No offense intended to anyone in this thread

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Hephaestus (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 12:55pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

                "... Ron Paul ... they are probably butchering his ideas."

                --Follow the constitution. (the document, not the boat)
                --Reduce the size of the federal government.
                --Get the deficit under control.

                easy enough.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Jay (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 1:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

                  I believe what Ron Paul is advocating is akin to this here.

                  Feel free to look. They explain how we can change our financial situation without a lot of bureaucratic government intervention.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          DCX2, 25 May 2011 @ 10:15am

          The problem with third parties

          They will draw votes from one of the two major parties, probably the one more closely aligned with your interests. Intelligent voters realize this and won't risk cutting off their nose to spite their face.

          What we need is a simultaneous fracture; fourth parties. If both Republicans and Democrats had viable alternatives, many people wouldn't feel like they risk wasting their vote.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Jay (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 10:19am

            Re: The problem with third parties

            The entire problem with the US political process in a nutshell. Damn primaries...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              John Thacker, 25 May 2011 @ 10:33am

              Re: Re: The problem with third parties

              Yes, the system makes third parties difficult, so the real key is to win primaries. Rand Paul got in by upsetting the establishment choice (Trey Greyson) in his primary. The same thing for Mike Lee (R-UT), one of the other Republicans to vote against this, he was the result of an incumbent Senator getting knocked off in party caucuses.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Jim O (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 12:23pm

            Re: The problem with third parties

            It would be nice if we could get Instant Runoff Voting to be commonplace (it is used in a few areas in the US). Being able to rank your votes would go a long way in eliminating the two party system.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          hegemon13, 25 May 2011 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

          Ron Paul is not a third party. He is running as a Republican, which means he has a chance (as opposed to running Libertarian, where he would have no chance). He has also polled as the strongest candidate against Obama in a general election in two separate polls. The challenge isn't winning the general election. I think he'd have it, hands-down, due to independent and young-voter support. His major challenge is overcoming the media and the GOP establishment, who work night and day to marginalize him and make ideas like liberty, sound money, individual rights, and accountable government sound like crackpot ideas. If enough people register Republican to win him the nomination, we'll have a true liberty-minded president for the first time since, what, Jefferson? (In some areas, Kennedy had it right, too, at least when it came to monetary policy.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Jay (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 12:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

            I'll be controversial and say Jackson.

            Reason being, he did balance the budget, fought central banking for the exact reasons of the financial meltdown, and had enough balls to stand up to the Judicial Branch telling them "Let's see you enforce what you've said."

            Not to mention beating the holy hell out of his assassin with a cane.

            The dude was a badass even if he was racist against Native Americans.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            PRMan, 25 May 2011 @ 12:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

            "the first time since, what, Jefferson?"

            Oh, come on. Andrew Jackson was completely for-the-people and anti-big-government. He bankrupted the corrupt Bank of the US.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              hegemon13, 26 May 2011 @ 6:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

              Agreed. I was in a hurry, and really just threw out the name. The point is, no one alive today has seen a liberty-minded president in this country. It is time.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        pixelpusher220 (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re: None of the Above!

        "My last vote was Nader/LeDuke in 2000"

        Thank you for inflicting George Bush on us.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: None of the Above!

          Meh he lost in Illinois anyway, so voting against him wouldn't have helped and even though Al Gore invented the internet I certainly didn't want him running things.


          besides its not like Bush not winning the election would have kept him out of office. *cough cough*

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      goldenrule, 25 May 2011 @ 12:27pm

      Re: None of the Above!

      Vote Ron Paul 2012!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      LennyB, 25 May 2011 @ 4:31pm

      Re: None of the Above!

      It's not going to matter next election anyways. Obama is still gonna win, and we're still going to see this kind of bullshit being used as legislative furtilizer, ensuring continuation of the global shitstorm we're in.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 9:29am


    What "compromise" did he make, other than to his principles and his oath to serve the people?

    What principles are you speaking of?

    I think he was true to his principles. He didn't compromise his principles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 9:30am

    "Perhaps the most ridiculous part of all of this is that one of the reasons why they're saying this needs to be rushed through is that the bill itself needs to be flown to Europe so that the President (who is visiting Europe) can sign it. Do they no realize that these things can be done electronically these days? "

    But if they make a digital version than pirates can get it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Beta (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 9:49am

    a stupid question

    Pardon my gross ignorance, but this has been bothering me for a while. If Senator Reid can attach his bill to the House bill so effortlessly, why can't Senator Paul attach his amendments to the House bill in the same way? Over and over I hear about this trick of attaching bad text to good, but I never hear about it working the other way. Is there some rule of order that gives rise to this pattern, or do the worst lawmakers just get in early in the morning and hoard all the paper clips?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John Thacker, 25 May 2011 @ 10:09am

      Re: a stupid question

      There is a Senate rule governing this. The House bill is considered a privileged bill-- the Senate has already previous voted to consider the House bill and to set up various rules for debate for it, including the ability to go right to cloture.

      The Senate Majority Leader has enormous power to offer amendments that ordinary Senators don't have, and to affect the scheduling of debate. Technically he does need to get a majority of the Senate to agree to the rules at the start of the session to give him that extra power, but the Majority Party always gives that power to the Majority Leader. If they didn't, why, they'd let the Other Team have too much power. They agree to give up their individual power in exchange for getting extra power by being part of the majority instead of minority.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 10:14am

      Re: a stupid question

      I believe only the speaker can do it. not certain though

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Berenerd (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re: a stupid question

        ahem...didn't realize I got logged out mid post.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        John Thacker, 25 May 2011 @ 10:16am

        Re: Re: a stupid question

        In the House the Speaker, yes, but we're talking about the Senate, which doesn't have a Speaker. In the Senate it's the Majority Leader, here Harry Reid, that has the power.

        (OK, technically the Vice-President is the President of the Senate, but the Senate rules don't give him any real power other than breaking ties.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The eejit (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 10:17am

      Re: a stupid question

      They not only hoard the paperclips, they steal your lunch and give it to their best bud in Wall Street.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 10:01am

    the senate needs an upgrade

    I watched Rand Paul on Youtube yesterday and to illustrate his point, they put up a big board with charts on it. Why, in this modern age, can't they use Powerpoint, and why must senators be in the room to vote (both of my senators were busy tending to the destruction in Joplin). The lack of technology is pathetic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      HothMonster, 25 May 2011 @ 10:07am

      Re: the senate needs an upgrade

      yeah well you every try teaching 70 year old men how to use the internet. Its laughably frustrating. We are going to have to wait for that generation to die out and the next to move in for tech in congress to advance. But of course that will be more old men and they will still be 30 years behind the times. But, hey you don't want these old bastards more confused then they already are, it would just allow more lobbyists to sneak bullshit right into their brains.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        John Thacker, 25 May 2011 @ 10:35am

        Re: the senate needs an upgrade

        Ron Paul is an old cranky bastard, while President Obama is fairly young and tech-savvy. But I'd rather have Ron Paul on these issues.

        Don't confuse "politicians who think that technology is cool and know how to use it" with "politicians who favor good laws for technology." They may be correlated, but they may be not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          HothMonster, 25 May 2011 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: the senate needs an upgrade

          "Don't confuse "politicians who think that technology is cool and know how to use it" with "politicians who favor good laws for technology."

          oh i certainly wouldn't. I was just speaking on his point that congress as a whole is about 30 years behind the general public when it comes to technology. Lack of powerpoints, remote video participation and many blatant misconceptions about the internet and other tech.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 10:39am

      Re: the senate needs an upgrade

      It took them forever to learn how to use touch tone on the telephone, you expect them to learn powerpoint over night?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ron page, 25 May 2011 @ 10:16am

    THIS IS WHY WE MUST ELECT RON PAUL IN 2012

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Beta (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 10:41am

    in other words

    "Officials will have to fly a copy of the Patriot Act extension overseas if they are to prevent a range of law-enforcement powers from expiring..."

    Apart from the 20th-century retro charm, note that this boils down to "we must race to extend the Act or else it will expire". Flying to Europe really has nothing to do with it.

    Or to elaborate: "the deadline is looming, so we must extend the Act without debating whether to let it expire, or else it will expire, because we put off debate until the deadline was looming".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 11:04am

    "Officials have to fly a copy of Patriot Act extension overseas..." Maybe they want QEII to have a look-see...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 11:14am

    The compromise was most likely that some politicians wanted to ADD to it...so keeping it exactly as it is could still be considered a compromise. That being said, if a politician wants the act to stay the same, and knows that the other politicians want to gut it, then it would not be unheard of for that first politician to ask for more so that they can compromise on the exact same act they had before.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      Preventing the act from being further discussed for a few days is hardly a compromise.

      He bypassed the discussion process exactly to avoid any compromises. The whole point of trying to further discuss the issue was to figure out what can be added and/or removed so that a compromise could be made. Bypassing that process was intended to avoid such compromises.

      Speculating that additions were made as a matter of compromise is probably not true because that wouldn't excuse bypassing the discussion.

      Also notice what he said

      "I have had many conversations with Senator Paul and tried to come up with a process to allow Senator Paul and others to offer amendments. I have been unsuccessful," Reid said.

      In other words, no compromise was made. He claims that he tried to offer a process to allow Senator Paul and others to offer amendments .... by circumventing the discussion? How does that make sense. It's a lie.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 12:30pm

        Re: Re:

        "I have had many conversations with Senator Paul and tried to come up with a process to allow Senator Paul and others to offer amendments. I have been unsuccessful," Reid said.

        (IOW, no amendments were made, hence no compromises were made).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re:

        (IOW, there was a process that allowed Rand Paul and others to offer amendments. The discussions, which would have only delayed the passage of the act by a few days, were an important part of that process. He circumvented the process. He didn't try "to come up with a process to allow Senator Paul and others to offer amendments" he circumvented the process that allowed them to offer amendments).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2011 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re:

        His unwillingness to even discuss the matter (for a few days) shows an uncompromising attitude on his part.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 12:41pm

    The day Harry Reid gets tossed out of office, will be a victory for freedom and liberty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    abc gum, 25 May 2011 @ 5:37pm

    Harry Reid may be an ass for this and many other things, but what was the other choice? Sharon Angle is a nut.

    if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies

    What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?' Well, that's not my job as a U.S. senator

    We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported

    Some of you look a little more Asian to me ... I've been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada State Assembly

    (above quotes from http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/republicanquotes/a/Sharron-Angle-Quotes.htm)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jesse (profile), 25 May 2011 @ 6:37pm

    heyo!

    I think Senator Reid and I have different dictionaries. How is making no changes and simply extending out the existing law for four years, despite such vocal opposition, "an excellent compromise"? What "compromise" did he make, other than to his principles and his oath to serve the people?

    ZING!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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