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House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Handing Trump 'Terrifying Authoritarian Surveillance Powers,' House Democrats Include Patriot Act Reauthorization in Funding Bill

"Wow. House Democrats are ignoring civil liberties and including a three month straight reauthorization of the Patriot Act (with zero reform) in the continuing resolution."

Jake Johnson

Buried in a stopgap government funding resolution unveiled by House Democrats Monday is a provision that would reauthorize the notoriously abusive Patriot Act for three months, a move privacy advocates warned would ensure President Donald Trump's administration holds on to "terrifying authoritarian surveillance powers."

Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights group Fight for the Future, highlighted the provision on Twitter shortly after House Democrats released the continuing resolution (pdf), which would temporarily avert a looming government shutdown by providing funding for federal agencies through December 20. A House vote on the measure is expected as early as Tuesday.

"Wow," said Greer. "House Democrats are ignoring civil liberties and including a three month straight re-authorization of the Patriot Act (with zero reform) in the continuing resolution."

"When the Patriot Act's surveillance authorities were initially enacted, they came with a 'sunset' clause to safeguard against the exact scenario where we had an authoritarian, racist, openly fascist president," Greer added. "And yet here we are and top Dems are still supporting reauthorization."

The provision, which appears on the second-to-last page of the funding measure, quickly drew outrage from advocacy groups and vows of opposition from a few House lawmakers.

"Yeah that's gonna be a no from me," tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Hours later, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) echoed her colleague: "Yeah... no. Count me out."

While the Patriot Act provision received virtually no attention in the media—reporting on the continuing resolution in NPR, Politico, Roll Call, and CNBC did not mention it—advocacy groups ramped up calls for House Democrats to reverse course.

"The continuing resolution would reauthorize a mass surveillance authority that has never been proven useful and that has consistently broken the laws and rules governing surveillance," tweeted Demand Progress. "Democrats must not hand this president these dangerous Patriot Act authorities."


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'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

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A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

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'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

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80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

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