Whip Hoyer Speaks on the Abuse of Power by the Republican Majority on the Patriot Act

i rise in opposition to this rule. before i speak on the rule itself let me say to our friends in great britain, one of our strongest allies in the fight against terrorism, we are with you. we empathize with the pain that TimeCode: 10:53:58.8 has been visited upon you once again. we are in this fight against terrorists together. everybody on this floor views themselves and acts as a TimeCode: 10:54:14.7 patriot on behalf of america, its values and its people. all 435 members of this house. they will see things differently as we consider this bill. TimeCode: 10:54:30.0 but they are all 100% committed to defeating terrorism, to ferreting out terrorists, to getting them off our streets, out of our country, and incarcerated, as they should TimeCode: 10:54:46.7 be. make no mistake about the commonality of that commitment. i know that the members of this house on both sides of the aisle are united in that commitment. TimeCode: 10:55:01.5 today on this house floor the american people will see no division in our willingness to do what is necessary to fight terrorism. what they will see today, however, mr. speaker, is an abuse of power by the republican majority, which has TimeCode: 10:55:18.8 deliberately and purposefully chosen to stifle a full debate on this critical legislation. i voted for the patriot act. i think we need to re-authorize TimeCode: 10:55:33.7 the sections involved, but we ought to look at them carefully. the republican rule that has been offered today is nothing less -- and i use my wrds carefully, a craven failure of our congressional oversight TimeCode: 10:55:48.9 responsibility. on lest that involves the government's power -- on legislation that involves the government's power to intrude on the lives of americans. we must protect americans. we must confront terrorists, but we must also ensure our TimeCode: 10:56:06.4 constitutional values. every single year, mr. speaker, this congress re-authorizes department of defense programs. this re-authorization process allows us to assess, reexamine and recalibrate our policies to TimeCode: 10:56:21.8 changing circumstances. today, however, we are being asked to give up that oversight responsibility. and permanently authorize many sections of this bill. let me make it clear to the public, the overwhelming majority of the patriot act is TimeCode: 10:56:38.2 in law right now and will not be affected by this legislation. 16 sections only are the subject of this legislation. we are being asked to extend two provisions, one involving roving wiretaps, the other with TimeCode: 10:56:54.1 the f.b.i.'s ability to demand business records. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. hoyer: may i have one additional minute. ms. slaughter: i will give an additional minute. TimeCode: 10:57:08.0 mr. hoyer: democrats want to sunset these provisions. why are you afraid to have a vote on the floor of the house of representatives on that provision? why do you fear the democratic process? i don't know. the sanders amendment, you TimeCode: 10:57:23.7 failed to offer that. 238 members of this house just days ago voted for that provision. why are you afraid to have another vote on the floor? are you afraid you can't get your members to change their TimeCode: 10:57:40.5 mind? are you afraid of the democratic process in this, the people's house? do you undermine that democracy which we confront terrorists for doing? my friends, this rule is not consistent with the open TimeCode: 10:57:58.4 democratic process in adopting one of the most important bills we'll consider. i agree with the gentleman from california. that is why i voted for the patriot act. to give law enforcement the capability and assurance that we could confront and catch TimeCode: 10:58:12.6 terrorists to protect america and our country. we should have come with a better rule.