2 House Republicans Vote to Uphold the Bill of Rights

Every Member of Congress takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. While Members of Congress are all united in their commitment to protect our country against its enemies, they should be equally united to uphold the Constitution.

Today, Democrats offered a motion to recommit on legislation to extend expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act to ensure that PATRIOT Act powers are not used to violate the Constitutional freedoms and protections guaranteed to all Americans. The motion included two parts:

No Constitutional shortcuts. When investigating American citizens, the government must comply with the Constitution, even in national security investigations

Challenging unconstitutional action. If a citizen challenges the government’s use of PATRIOT Act power in a court of law, the case must be expedited to ensure the individual’s rights are upheld.

Instead of voting to prevent government from overreaching and trampling over Americans’ Constitutional liberties, only two House Republicans, Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-TX), joined all House Democrats in voting for the motion. The motion was defeated with 234 House Republicans voting no. See the vote tally»

Text of the motion offered by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. David Price (D-NC):

Mr. Thompson moves to recommit the bill, H.R. 514, to the Committee on the Judiciary with instructions to report the same back to the House forthwith with the following amendment:

At the end of section 1, add the following new subsection:


(1) INVESTIGATIONS MUST COMPLY WITH CONSTITUTION.—Each investigation of a United States citizen conducted under an extended authority shall be conducted in a manner that complies with the Constitution of the United States, including the first through tenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States (commonly known as the “Bill of Rights”).

(2) EXPEDITED REVIEW OF VIOLATIONS.—In any civil proceeding before a Federal court that involves an alleged violation of paragraph (1), such court shall expedite such proceeding.

(3) EXTENDED AUTHORITY DEFINED.—In this subsection, the term ‘‘extended authority’’ means any authority available under—

(A) an amendment to section 105(c)(2),501, or 502 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1805(c)(2), 1861, 1862) that took effect after October 25, 2001;or

(B) section 101(b)(1)(C) of such Act, as amended by section 6001(a) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (Public Law 108-458; 118 Stat. 3742).