Bipartisan House Team Moves to Repeal the Patriot Act

December 18th, 2020 - by Justine Coleman / The Hill

Thomas Massie, Tulsi Gabbard Team Up on Bill to Repeal the Patriot Act

Justine Coleman / The Hill

 (December 16 2020) — Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) have teamed up to introduce a bill designed to repeal the Patriot Act.

The two House members are proposing bipartisan legislation designed to limit government surveillance of people without warrants and probable cause. 

The Protect Our Civil Liberties Act would repeal both the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act that permitted government agencies to collect mass telephone and email data. Gabbard and Massie argue that this surveillance violates Americans’ right to privacy and their civil liberties. 

In a video announcement Wednesday, Gabbard said the bill would make sure that Congress “reexamines how best to strike this balance of protecting our national security interests while also ensuring that the constitutional rights of every single American is preserved.”

“Protection of our civil liberties is essential,” she later said. “Join us in making sure that our constitutional rights are upheld.”

The Hawaii Democrat also called out the intelligence community, saying it “has not been transparent or honest with the American people or even Congress about what they’ve been doing.”

The bill would also make retaliation against any federal national security whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden, illegal and require that the Government Accountability Office “regularly monitor domestic surveillance programs.” 

It would also ban “government-mandated back doors” built into electronics and software that allows the government to get past any privacy technology, Gabbard said.  

Massie retweeted Gabbard’s video and said he is “honored to cosponsor a bill to repeal the Patriot Act with my friend across the aisle @TulsiGabbard.”

In a statement, Massie said the Patriot Act violates the Fourth Amendment and has expanded domestic surveillance in the country.

“Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize,” he said. “It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans.”

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