Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Filibuster the Patriot Act

Good news:
In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold.

He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed.

Now add more than two dozen senators to Feingold's side, including the leaders of his party and some of the chamber's most conservative Republicans, and the balance of power shifts.


The opposition that began with Feingold's one vote has bloomed into a bloc of Democrats and Republicans concerned about a range of powers the original act gave the FBI, and how they are used. This group prefers the curbs on government power passed by the Senate but rejected in a compromise with the House. Now, faced with an up-or-down vote on the accord, they say no.
It's amazing what one person can do when they make a stand and never give up. Senator Feingold's courageous leadership is admirable and worthy of great applause. He has convinced a lot of senators to join him:
In the last week, Feingold has attracted important allies, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a possible presidential candidate in 2008. On Thursday he added another to his column: Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the original Democratic co-sponsor of the 2001 Patriot Act.
We certainly hope that our own senators are in that bloc as well. Maria Cantwell is currently abroad in Iraq and may not vote on this, but we expect Senator Murray to vote against the Patriot Act.

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