Can it really be? Did 47 Senators really have the, uh, guts to stand up against the anti-civil liberties brigade? (Okay, really 46 – Frist voted as one of the 47 due to a technical procedural rule that allows him to bring up the vote again if he voted against it. Or something like that.)
But the point is… the Patriot Act Reauthorization was filibustered! It’s hard to believe. Despite watching the vote live on C-Span, we didn’t really believe it had happened until we saw the CNN story confirming it.
Several of the senators tied in their votes to the disclosure in today’s New York Times that the NSA has been secretly (and illegally) eavesdropping on US citizens in this country. After all, it does tend to shed a wee bit of doubt that the government isn’t abusing its powers under the Patriot Act, as it has repeatedly claimed.
The vote split largely down party lines. All Democrats voted to filibuster except Tim Johnson (SD) and Ben Nelson (FL). We picked up Republicans Larry Craig (ID), John Sununu (NH), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Chuck Hagel(NE).
As for what next, it’s not clear. A three month extension has been proposed to allow more time for discussion, but Frist reiterated after the vote that he will not support that, nor will the president. They prefer to let the Patriot Act expire then wait.
Sara in Philly