Posted May 21, 2015, 5:26 PM
We’re so close to making the government get a legit warrant before they can monitor and track us. For all the people who have ever wanted to see or worked towards the end of the Patriot Act over the past dozen years, this is our moment.
If Congress does nothing—something they are very good at—the NSA’s mass phone data collection will begin shutting down on Friday. And on midnight of Monday, June 1, 2015, the section of the Patriot Act that has been used (illegally) to justify mass surveillance will sunset and no longer be U.S. law.
If you want the Patriot Act to die a quick and painless death (and even if you secretly want it to struggle and suffer, alone and afraid) Join us THIS EVENING at one of our 50+ nationwide Sunset the Patriot Act vigils.
Here’s why we have such a golden opportunity right now.
Because of Rand Paul’s filibuster of the Senate yesterday, things have been pushed back so that a vote on limiting debate on whether or not to begin debate of reauthorization of the Patriot Act (either straight up or under the Orwellian “USA Freedom Act”) won’t happen until Saturday, after the NSA begins winding down its collection program. These motions on the reauthorization bills will require 60 votes to be approved, and that seems unlikely at this point. If they do somehow get 60 votes, a final vote won’t happen until Wednesday of next week.
But here’s the thing. All bills have to go through both the Senate and the House of Representatives before they can become law, and the House is leaving for vacation today until after the Patriot Act section expires. The House has already passed the USA Freedom Act, which renews the Patriot Act, so the only real way for Congress to stop a sunset at this point is for the Senate to pass that bill.
Our vote count shows that the Senate doesn’t have the votes to pass it, so if we can prevent a few on-the-fence Senators from siding with the NSA on this, we will be going back to a world where law enforcement and Intelligence officials need to actually get a warrant to spy on us.
At that point, if Congress wants to bring back the ability for the government to spy on us without a warrant they will need to affirmatively re-legislate the PATRIOT Act. It won’t be just a matter of extending sunset dates anymore. Every member of Congress will have to go down on the record saying they don’t want the government to have to seek a warrant to spy on us, which is a very unpopular position and something that 2/3rds of the House of Representatives have never had to vote on.
We are so close to an epic win on mass surveillance. That’s why we’re hosting sunset vigils across the country this evening at senators’ local offices to call on the Patriot Act to expire.
If you want this win; If you want the government to have to get a warrant before they can spy on you, your communications, and your family, Join us tonight.