Count ’em. All five members of San Diego’s Congressional delegation voted yesterday against the ban on continued National Security Administration surveillance of Americans’ phone and internet records.
Democrats Susan Davis, Juan Vargas and Scott Peters joined with their ostensible nemesis Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa to shut down the attempt to rein in the NSA’s spying.
It was a close vote; 205 to 217 – against the Amash amendment, a bipartisan effort added to a spending bill.
The vote was a huge disappointment to civil libertarians and critics of the NSA surveillance programs. The NSA has been criticized for overstepping its authority in conducting warrantless spying on US citizens. Critics assert that Congress never authorized the extent and breadth of the spying, and that the projects violate the Constitution.
Big-name Democrats joined with the GOP leadership to derail the Amash attempt. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined with her opponent House Speaker John Boehner to vote the amendment down. The Obama White House had urged its defeat.
It was whistleblower Edward Snowden who exposed all this warrantless accessing of phone and internet records for U.S. citizens. He is facing possible charges of treason as he tries to find a country that will take him.
A national movement, Restore the Fourth, has arisen to call for restoration of Fourth Amendment rights, which guarantee freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
Among the aye votes were 111 Democrats and 91 Republicans. 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats voted against the amendment. Twelve didn’t vote.
Pelosi and Boehner joined House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Michele Bachmann, and the San Diego delegation to shut it down.
Yet, the bipartisan coalition that sponsored and voted for the amendment apparently believe the NSA has indeed overstepped its authority.
Those who supported the Amash amendment included New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler – who stated that the White House was conducting activities Congress never authorized -, James Clyburn, who would’ve been the House Minority Leader had Nancy Pelosi stepped down from leadership, James Sensenbrenner, one of the original sponsors of the PATRIOT Act, John Dingell, Congress’ longest serving representative, Keith Ellison, its only Muslim, freshman Mark Sanford, as well as Tim Huelskamp, Raul Labrador, Charlie Rangel and Henry Waxman.
We would like to wish our San Diego delegation a hearty … raspberry … for your continued efforts to undermine the US Constitution.
Can we call for their resignations?