Statement on Extending FISA Legislation

Transcript: 

the gentleman from maryland is recognized for one minute. mr. hoyer: i thank the distinguished chairman for yielding me the time. i thank him as well for his leadership. i thank mr. reyes for his leadership and i thank mr. hoekstra for his leadership as well. as well as mr. smith. this is a very serious issue we confront today. this bill passed the senate less than 24 hours ago. yet this co-equal brarge fortunate -- branch of the government of the united states has asked to do what the minority when it was the majority would never have done, to take exactly hat senate tells us to take. or frankly what the president tells us to take. now let me say that we passed a bill november 15, three months ago, which gave the fisa court and which gave the intelligence community everything they needed . given the tech lg changes and given the demands of keeping america safe. everything. the senate passed a bill out of their committee at about the same time. but i want to tell my friends on the other side of the aisle, in the senate you've been slow walking this bill. you've been slow walking this bill to put us in the position we find ourselves in today. and you did it because the issue here is not the intelligence community as mr. hoekstra talked about. it's the telecommunications companies. that's what the issue is here. because title 1 could have been conferenced months ago. but no. we do not want to apparently look very closely at what happened between the administration and the telecommunications companies. now we passed the statute which said to the telecommunications company, look, when we make phone calls they need to be private and you can't disclose those to people, including the government. without a court order. we passed the fisa court appeal specifically to provide for the ability of our intelligence community to intercept communication, but to do so under the court. that is what we do in america. makes us a little different. some governments, of course, do whatever they want to do. this is not just about fisa. we incarcerate people without hearings, without lawyers. we torture people, contrary to the edicts of the international law, rationalized by an attorney general of the united states in a memo to the president of the united states. but i tell my friends that nobody in this institution ought to have any self-respect if what you're saying is we ought not to go to conference on this important issue. which is what you say by voting against this extension. this extension is caused -- is caused almost solely by the members of the president's party. and the united states senate who would not allow this legislation to move more quickly in the senate. mr. speaker,ing i believe our friends on the other side of the aisle and the president of the united states are taking an untenable position and what is that position? on the one hand, if the protect america act expires, america will be at risk. on the other hand, if we extend and keep ins for the protect america act, the -- in force the protect america act, the president says he'll veto it. i don't know what kind of logic that is, but it certainly escapes me. if in fact and i don't agree with the president, but if in fact it's important to keep the protect america act in place, then passing this extension is the best way to do so. ...