Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ray LaHood shows backbone and common sense in voting against Patriot Act extension

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

I want the government to be able to track down terrorists before they blow up a grade school or a day care. But I also don't want the Feds to break into my home and copy my hard drive because I sent a nasty letter to someone about Karl Rove. Therefore, I want some oversight over how these broad powers are being used.

LaHood, a Peoria Republican was one of just 14 Republicans who voted against extending the Patriot Act.

At issue was the act's lack of adequate oversight, including sunset provisions that would have made the act expire is not renewed.

LaHood is a member of the House Intelligence Committee that recommended the sunset provisions, which were later blocked by the House Rules Committee.

"You're giving law enforcement an enormous amount of power, and I just think there has to be oversight. I think all of those things are tools that law enforcement needs, but when you have good, strong sunset provisions, that really holds law enforcement's feet to the fire. Somebody's going to be looking over their shoulders."
LaHood didn't dispute [Judiciary Committee Chairman James] Sensenbrenner's assertions that Congress had provided adequate oversight of the law and that no abuses had been uncovered. But, he added: "I think, in part, the reason was because of the sunset provision. If you eliminate that, I think people become very complacent. I don't think we'd be having this big debate that we're having (on the Patriot Act) over the last few days if it weren't for the sunset provisions."

Rep. Tim Johnson from Champaign/Urbana also voted against it, according to IlliniPundit.

I think Central Illinois breeds the kind of Republicans who take a more common-sense approach to conservatism, not the doctrinaire stance you see out of so many collar-county GOPers.

These votes will play well among mostly-moderate central Illinois voters, and probably positions LaHood well in the race for governor.

They also send a message about the need for the Senate/House compromise bill to include the senset and oversight.

Of course, there's also the possibility both these guys simply voted the convictions this time around, and weren't pandering for votes.

No comments: