Dems see House GOP struggles in Patriot Act vote
February 9th, 2011
01:26 PM ET
3 years ago

Dems see House GOP struggles in Patriot Act vote

Washington (CNN) – House Democratic leaders got a chance to gloat the morning after Republicans failed on Tuesday to pass a bill extending key provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the month.

"I think our Republican colleagues are struggling with the burden of leadership and clearly they have not found their footing going forward," said Maryland Democratic Rep Chris Van Hollen.

Republicans seemed to be blindsided Tuesday night on the House floor when they came up seven votes short of passing a bill keeping three current measures used by law enforcement and intelligence officials from expiring at the end of February.

The bill was considered under a House rule requiring two thirds majority for passage and would have extended these provisions through December 8, 2011. Twenty six Republicans opposed the bill, eight of whom are freshmen. Some Republicans like Texas Republican Ron Paul, have previously opposed Patriot Act extensions because of concerns about civil liberties.

One GOP freshman, Rep Raul Labrador, R-Utah, also said concerns about privacy prompted his "no" vote.

"While I agree that law enforcement and national security agencies need the tools necessary to keep America safe from terrorism, when crafting policy we need to be sure we are not infringing upon the protections and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution," Labrador said in a statement.

But one GOP leadership aide conceded that that many of those Republicans who opposed the measure did so because they felt they were not adequately briefed and were reluctant to support the extension before getting up to speed on the issue. Before Tuesday's vote a Republican Judiciary aide explained that time concerns about the law expiring at the end the month and the need for the Senate to vote on it caused leaders to move ahead with a vote without holding hearings. The extension through early December 2011, according to the aide, would give the committee the rest of the year to educate new members about the need for a longer term extension.

Speaker Boehner admitted that the vote could have been handled better, but blamed House Democrats for failing to support the bill.

"Listen, we've been in the majority four weeks. We are not going to be perfect everyday. If the Democrats who had voted for these same provisions last year had voted for them this year it would have passed," he said. 122 Democrats opposed the bill.

Boehner also declared that the Patriot Act provisions would be renewed. "We are going to get these extensions of the Patriot Act enacted because it is important to the safety and security of the American people."

But when he was pressed on why leaders scheduled the bill in way that mandated a supermajority to pass, Boehner curtly replied, "it was."

GOP leaders were also forced to pull a trade bill from a floor vote on Tuesday because they were concerned it could fail to muster the votes to pass. Ways and Means Committee leaders explained they were still working on the bill.

Democrats, still smarting from a stinging loss in November, wasted no time in rubbing it in that the new GOP leaders couldn't move their agenda forward on the House floor.

"They have the responsibility of governing and it seems right now they are coming apart at the seams," said Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (D-CT). "From the outside looking in it seems as though they are in disarray."

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said while the failure seemed to surprise party leaders, he maintained it was not a shock to anyone who watched last year's election.

"I think it means that they have divisions within their party," Hoyer said. "I think we all knew they had divisions in their party."


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. walter

    Gloat away libs. Once Obamacare is defunded then the right will have a real reason to gloat.

    February 9, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. TonySea

    WHY ARE THE REPUBLICANS WASTING TIME? They seem to be focusing on every issue, EXCEPT UNEMPLOYMENT!!! Focus, focus, focus.

    February 9, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. ReFascisticans

    Rachel Maddow hit the nail on the head last night on her show. There is a difference between libertarian conservative and authoritarian conservatives. It's about time Dem's start pointing out the divide and the hypocrisy amongst conservatives. They say one thing and do the total opposite.

    February 9, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. john

    For the party that wants smaller Gov.they sure like to involve them selves in everybodies civil liberties and freedoms. ( abortion, gay marrige,cyber spying)

    February 9, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Mattski

    I find it funny that the same group who on one hand wants a less intrusive government also wants to extend these government powers. Which is it, you guys? You scream about the second amendment and individuals' rights in order to get your base energized, but you vote to expand these unprecedented powers of the government over its citizens. I'm just trying to understand a clear message. At least Ron Paul is consistent.

    February 9, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. vic nashville tn

    GOP split in to many one year back but they were walking around with 1000s of duck tape till last November by June we will see more

    February 9, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Billy Ray

    Those Tea Partyers are gettin' pretty uppity, givin' the good ol' GOP boys a ride for their money. YAHOO!

    February 9, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    122 Democrats opposed the bill.
    ==========================
    The new Party of No in Washington s now the Democrats. They only vote yes for giant new governmewnt entitlement programs, spending trillions we have to borrow and forcing Americans to buy products from businesses when it suits their purpose. But voting no to protecting the country from terrorists??? Unbelieveable. I guess we always knew they weren't serious about going after the terrorists.

    February 9, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Oh Lord – The weeper of the house blaming democrats because some of the republicans voted against the bill. Aren't you nutjobs glad you put them in charge of creating job for the U.S.???? That's what they were elected for.

    Now we get whine whine whine whine - "the dems won't vote for what we want" - whine whine whine. How does HELL NO sound now, cry baby?

    February 9, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Liberal4Obama

    Campaigning is easier than governing. All of what Boehner and his crowd PLEDGE to America has gone up in smoke. They promised $100B in cuts and could barely muster $30B or %0.02 of the budget.

    It's a bad start for the GOP, I'm about to start feeling sorry for them they are doing awful.

    February 9, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Lee

    Yes, some REAL conservatives vote their conscious that government should not get blank checks against our privacy. The prior repub congresses gave every thing to George that he asked for with little regard to privacy concerns. Huge improvement!

    February 9, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Lee

    The repubs may also not be used to having independent minded folks in office. They are probably used to just putting ANY repub originated bill in and have almost all repub members vote for it, whether they read it or not.

    February 9, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Root and stem

    The next time Islamist terrorists attack the homeland it will be the Democrat/Progressive cadre's fault.

    February 9, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Sgt Schultz

    Thank you Congress for finally ending that awful Patriot Act. Stop trampling on our legal rights as Citizens. Go after the bad guys and keep the rest of us free from tyranny and oppression of a nightmare Police State.

    February 9, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Mike in WA

    67 Democrats support the bill so it seams that the split in the Democratic party is larger then in the republican party. Good job pointing that fact out.

    February 9, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Did we miss something, I thought John Boehner is the new Republican Speaker of the House which the Republicans control. Boehner tears weren't tears of happiness, they were tears of fear because he knew he could no longer use the Democrats to play the blame game. Looks like Boehner can't fill Pelosi's shoes. I guess Mr. Boehner never heard that saying "be careful what you ask for you just might get it." LOL

    February 9, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. anotherGDlefty

    Speaker Boehner admitted that the vote could have been handled better, but blamed House Democrats for failing to support the bill.

    "Listen, we've been in the majority four weeks. We are not going to be perfect everyday. If the Democrats who had voted for these same provisions last year had voted for them this year it would have passed," he said. 122 Democrats opposed the bill.

    Nice dodge Johnny. Let me get this straight...the MINORITY caused this to happen? You ARE THE MAJORITY now and you can make it happen. Nice work.

    Oh by the way Boehner...where are the jobs?

    February 9, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    we need to be sure we are not infringing upon the protections and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution,"
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Where's the "Don't Tread On Me" crowd now? Shouldn't they be cheering for the Democrats for FINALLY eradicating the various unconstitutional components of this LAW? Just as importantly,where were they when this LAW was allowed to go into effect, and simultaneously STOMPING all over private citizens' civil liberties?
    Hypocrites.

    February 9, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Ty

    And the beat goes on.............These Rep..........get what they get.....they need to be voted out............they playing a game
    and a some point the game must end. What goes around comes around around. Little do some of you know THEY ARE BIG GOV..... they want the gov to control abortion.......so what does that make them. You can fool me once shame onyou, you can fool me twice shame on me.......but some of us are not FOOLS....we can see the forest from the trees. You not for the people you are for Big Business and Big Gov..........now take off that mask

    February 9, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Indy

    Looks like Republicans pulled a boner ! Their usual lockstep failed and is further proof that this part is in turmoil.

    February 9, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. SAY WHAT!!!

    Did he shed any tears? If not all one has to do is say he worked in his father's bar sweeping floors...and the river will flow from his eyes...

    February 9, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Cfrench

    It appears not all Republicans got the tea Party marching orders. I'm sure Boehner won't let that happen again.

    February 9, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Inmyopinion

    Let those key provisions expire and if something goes wrong down the road than we'll blame those Democrats and Republicans that voted against the bill to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act. Everything in government has become about Democrats vs Republicans and not about the safety of all of us, the safety of our country.

    February 9, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Listen, we've been in the majority four weeks. We are not going to be perfect everyday. If the Democrats who had voted for these same provisions last year had voted for them this year it would have passed,"

    Would that be anything like McCrypt voting NO on a bill he co-sponsored?

    Not so much fun when it is the other party united and saying HELL NO is it?

    Be careful you Dem meanies, or you will cause the Orange Oracle to cry and streak his make-up, I mean, his spray on tan!

    February 9, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    Anyone else wondering if John Boehner is inept? After Nancy Pelosi's reign as speaker, as probably one of the most efficient we've ever seen, or that I've certainly seen in my lifetime, this guy looks inept to me. Maybe it's just a matter of perspective, huh? But he took a vote on something he didn't know he didn't have the votes on to succeed. Remember when all the politicians in DC, including the President, we ready to give up on health care after the special election in MA? Pelosi was the one who said we can do this, and she did. It was impressive. Is that perspective, or did we see an incredibly capable politician in action? Of course the way the right demonized her, who knows what history will show?

    February 9, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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