Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Setting the Record Straight on Rand Paul, NDAA and the Patriot Act

There is much hysteria in social media accusing Rand Paul of voting YES on NDAA.  First of all, there was never an NDAA bill.  NDAA was merely a very tiny component of the monster 2013 Defense Authorization bill but that tiny component included highly combustible and contentious language on the right of the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process or charges. Because of civil liberties concerns, Rand Paul fought for language that would have weakened or neutered the right of the government to indefinitely detain citizens.  Once that amendment was included in the Defense Authorization bill, Rand Paul voted YES on the bill.

It is not unusual for the senate and house to pass competing versions of a bill.  It happens frequently and when it does happen a Conference Committee is created to include members of the house and senate to iron out the differences.  Yes, the Conference Committee is always rigged.

Let's back up to the 2012 Defense Authorization bill (passed in Dec. 2011) when the same civil liberties issues were raised. Rand Paul voted NO on the final Conference Committee bill along with 14 other senators in an 86-13-1 vote.  The 12/15/11 roll call vote is here.

Fast forward a year later to December 2012 and the vote on the 2013 Defense Authorization Act.  In an 81-14-4 vote that easily passed, Rand Paul voted NO.  The 2013 Defense Authorization official roll call vote is here and the vote occurred on 12/21/12.

In the 2011 and 2012 final votes on the Defense Authorization bill, Rand Paul voted NO, as documented above with the official roll call votes.  Since Rand Paul was elected in Nov. 2010 and was sworn into office in January, 2011, he had no votes prior to being sworn in.

Yet, there is a firestorm brewing that falsely alleges that Rand Paul voted YES on NDAA.  It's simply NOT true.  However, what is TRUE is that Rand Paul voted YES on the 2013 Defense Authorization bill (senate version) on 12/4/12 because it contained an amendment restricting NDAA indefinite detention but that amendment was kicked out of the final bill in Conference Committee.

Still, the Rand Paul haters are circulating the 98-0-2 roll call vote as proof that Rand Paul voted YES on NDAA.  That roll call vote is here.  Rand Paul NEVER voted for NDAA.

The Huffington Post wrote a piece on Rand Paul's furious dissent.

NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill Passes Senate After Rand Paul Calls It An 'Abomination'
The Senate passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that was stripped of a prohibition of the indefinite military detention of US citizens on American soil by an 81-14 vote on Friday, but only after a furious dissent on the chamber's floor by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who called it an "abomination." documented Rand Paul's position on NDAA.

'Abomination': Rand Paul slams NDAA as bill passes US Senate

The controversial NDAA bill, which allows for the indefinite detention of US citizens, was approved by the Senate despite White House threats to veto the legislation. Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has decried the law as an “abomination.”
The libertarian Republican voiced his concerns to a conference committee following the decision to give the present version of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) the go-ahead. Paul cited the committee’s decision to scrap an amendment that would have prohibited the indefinite detention of US citizens suspected of terrorist activities.
"It's [the amendment] been removed because they want the ability to hold American citizens without trial in our country. This is so fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a country that it can't go unnoticed,” Paul told the committee. He went on to condemn the bill as an “abomination” that deprives US citizens of the right to a fair trial.
"When you're accused of a crime in our country you get a trial, you get a trial by a jury of your peers, no matter how heinous your crime is, no matter how awful you are, we give you a trial," he said.
Another lie that is circulating about Rand Paul is that he voted YES on the Patriot Act.  He did no such thing.  The Patriot Act originally passed shortly after 911 with a sunset date of 12/31/05, meaning it was supposed to be TEMPORARY but since government tyranny is NEVER temporary, Congress and Bush renewed the Patriot Act in 3/06 for 4 more years.  In February, 2010, Obama signed a one year extension of the Patriot Act.

On 5/26/11, Congress passed and Obama signed a 4 year extension of the Patriot Act. Senate bill 990 (PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011) cleared the Senate on 5/26/11 in a 72-23-5 recorded vote, here.  Rand Paul voted NO.

NO Votes on Patriot Act renewal

NAYs ---23 Akaka (D-HI) Baucus (D-MT) Begich (D-AK) Bingaman (D-NM) Brown (D-OH) Cantwell (D-WA) Coons (D-DE) Durbin (D-IL) Franken (D-MN) Harkin (D-IA) Heller (R-NV) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Leahy (D-VT) Lee (R-UT) Merkley (D-OR) Murkowski (R-AK) Murray (D-WA) Paul (R-KY) Sanders (I-VT) Tester (D-MT) Udall (D-CO) Udall (D-NM) Wyden (D-OR)

In the senate, the magic number for passing a bill is 60 votes, unless it's budget reconciliation which required a simple majority.  The Patriot Act easily cleared the Democrat controlled Senate, although Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Lisa Murkowsky were the sole Republicans who joined with 20 Dems to vote NO on renewing the Patriot Act.

I'm unclear about where all the lies about Rand Paul on NDAA and the Patriot Act are coming from. However, the truth is easily obtained by merely checking roll call votes.  Understanding how legislation is introduced, debated and passed in the house and the senate also helps, as well as understanding conference committees.

In the post Snowden era, civil liberties are indeed very critical concerns.  NDAA will be up again in December, 2013 with the 2014 Defense Authorization bill.  The Patriot Act will surface again just in time for the 2016 presidential election.

Where will Congress be?  Missing in action again on protecting the civil liberties of American citizens? Rand Paul will be there for the American people, defending their civil liberties and fighting the fight to oppose NDAA, the Patriot Act and other draconian assaults on liberty. 

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, well, when is he going to come out with the truth about controlled demolition on 9/11?


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