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Slick Surprise Senate Roll Call: Senate Passes Patriot Act 86-12 on 2/15

Boom. Just like that, with hardly any notice at all and no significant public debate, the U.S. Senate has passed a reauthorization of the Patriot Act by a margin of 86-12. Patriot Act powers, which are almost always used for reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism, permit surveillance, search and seizure without probable cause — a direct violation of the text of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Senators were too scared to talk about the Patriot Act, the Constitution, and the value of liberty over security like grownups in the light of day.

Here are some worthwhile patterns to notice.

1. Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky were the only Republicans in the Senate to vote against the Patriot Act.

2. Democrats look better, but not by much: Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Patty Murray of Washington, Jon Tester of Montana, and Tom Udall of New Mexico were the only Democrats to vote against the Patriot Act.

3. Senator Bernard Sanders, the only avowed Socialist in the U.S. Congress, voted AGAINST the Patriot Act and for Constitutional freedom from search, surveillance and seizure of your property without probable cause. That’s something to consider, Tea Partiers.

The 86 Senators Voting FOR the Patriot Act:

Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Phone: 202-224-6361 or Contact online
Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee). Phone: 202-224-4944 or Contact online
Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire). Phone: 202-224-3324 or Contact online
John Barrasso (R-Wyoming). Phone: 202-224-6441 or Contact online
Michael Bennet (D-Colorado). Phone: 202-224-5852 or Contact online
Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico). Phone: 202-224-5521 or Contact online
Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut). Phone: 202-224-2823 or Contact online
Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). Phone: 202-224-5721 or Contact online
John Boozman (R-Arkansas). Phone: 202-224-4843 or Contact online
Barbara Boxer (D-California). Phone: 202-224-3553 or Contact online
Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts). Phone: 202-224-4543 or Contact online
Richard Burr (R-North Carolina). Phone: 202-224-3154 or Contact online
Maria Cantwell (D-Washington). Phone: 202-224-3441 or Contact online
Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland). Phone: 202-224-4524 or Contact online
Thomas Carper (D-Delaware). Phone: 202-224-2441 or Contact online
Robert Casey (D-Pennsylvania). Phone: 202-224-4254 or Contact online
Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia). Phone: 202-224-3643 or Contact online
Daniel Coats (R-Indiana). Phone: 202-224-5623 or Contact online
Thomas Coburn (R-Oklahoma). Phone: 202-224-5754 or Contact online
Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi). Phone: 202-224-5054 or Contact online
Susan Collins (R-Maine). Phone: 202-224-2523 or Contact online
Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota). Phone: 202-224-2043 or Contact online
Chris Coons (D-Delaware). Phone: 202-224-5042 or Contact online
Bob Corker (R-Tennessee). Phone: 202-224-3344 or Contact online
John Cornyn (R-Texas). Phone: 202-224-2934 or Contact online
Michael Crapo (R-Idaho). Phone: 202-224-6142 or Contact online
Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina). Phone: 202-224-6121 or Contact online
Richard Durbin (D-Illinois). Phone: 202-224-2152 or Contact online
John Ensign (R-Nevada). Phone: 202-224-6244 or Contact online
Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming). Phone: 202-224-3424 or Contact online
Dianne Feinstein (D-California). Phone: 202-224-3841 or Contact online
Al Franken (D-Minnesota). Phone: 202-224-5641 or Contact online
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). Phone: 202-224-4451 or Contact online
Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). Phone: 202-224-5972 or Contact online
Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Phone: 202-224-3744 or Contact online
Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina). Phone: 202-224-6342 or Contact online
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Phone: 202-224-5251 or Contact online
John Hoeven (R-North Dakota). Phone: 202-224-2551 or Contact online
Kay Hutchison (R-Texas). Phone: 202-224-5922 or Contact online
James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma). Phone: 202-224-4721 or Contact online
Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). Phone: 202-224-3934 or Contact online
Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia). Phone: 202-224-3521 or Contact online
Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska). Phone: 202-224-4224 or Contact online
Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota). Phone: 202-224-5842 or Contact online
Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin). Phone: 202-224-5323 or Contact online
Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). Phone: 202-224-2854 or Contact online
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). Phone: 202-224-3244 or Contact online
Herbert Kohl (D-Wisconsin). Phone: 202-224-5653 or Contact online
Jon Kyl (R-Arizona). Phone: 202-224-4521 or Contact online
Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana). Phone: 202-224-5824 or Contact online
Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). Phone: 202-224-4242 or Contact online
Carl Levin (D-Michigan). Phone: 202-224-6221 or Contact online
Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut). Phone: 202-224-4041 or Contact online
Richard Lugar (R-Indiana). Phone: 202-224-4814 or Contact online
Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). Phone: 202-224-3954 or Contact online
John McCain (R-Arizona). Phone: 202-224-2235 or Contact online
Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri). Phone: 202-224-6154 or Contact online
Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). Phone: 202-224-2541 or Contact online
Robert Menéndez (D-New Jersey). Phone: 202-224-4744 or Contact online
Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland). Phone: 202-224-4654 or Contact online
Jerry Moran (R-Kansas). Phone: 202-224-6521 or Contact online
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Phone: 202-224-6665 or Contact online
Bill Nelson (D-Florida). Phone: 202-224-5274 or Contact online
Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska). Phone: 202-224-6551 or Contact online
Robert Portman (R-Ohio). Phone: 202-224-3353 or Contact online
Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island). Phone: 202-224-4642 or Contact online
Harry Reid (D-Nevada). Phone: 202-224-3542 or Contact online
James Risch (R-Idaho). Phone: 202-224-2752 or Contact online
Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). Phone: 202-224-4774 or Contact online
John Rockefeller (D-West Virginia). Phone: 202-224-6472 or Contact online
Marco Rubio (R-Florida). Phone: 202-224-3041 or Contact online
Charles Schumer (D-New York). Phone: 202-224-6542 or Contact online
Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama). Phone: 202-224-4124 or Contact online
Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire). Phone: 202-224-2841 or Contact online
Richard Shelby (R-Alabama). Phone: 202-224-5744 or Contact online
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Phone: 202-224-5344 or Contact online
Debbie Ann Stabenow (D-Michigan). Phone: 202-224-4822 or Contact online
John Thune (R-South Dakota). Phone: 202-224-2321 or Contact online
Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania). Phone: 202-224-4254 or Contact online
Mark Udall (D-Colorado). Phone: 202-224-5941 or Contact online
David Vitter (R-Louisiana). Phone: 202-224-4623 or Contact online
Mark Warner (D-Virginia). Phone: 202-224-2023 or Contact online
Jim Webb (D-Virginia). Phone: 202-224-4024 or Contact online
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island). Phone: 202-224-2921 or Contact online
Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi). Phone: 202-224-6253 or Contact online
Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Phone: 202-224-5244 or Contact online

The 12 Senators Voting AGAINST the Patriot Act:

Max Baucus (D-Montana). Phone: 202-224-2651 or Contact online
Mark Begich (D-Alaska). Phone: 202-224-3004 or Contact online
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Phone: 202-224-2315 or Contact online
Thomas Harkin (D-Iowa). Phone: 202-224-3254 or Contact online
Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey). Phone: 202-224-3224 or Contact online
Mike Lee (R-Utah). Phone: 202-224-5444 or Contact online
Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon). Phone: 202-224-3753 or Contact online
Patty Murray (D-Washington). Phone: 202-224-2621 or Contact online
Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). Phone: 202-224-4343 or Contact online
Bernard Sanders (I-Vermont). Phone: 202-224-5141 or Contact online
Jon Tester (D-Montana). Phone: 202-224-2644 or Contact online
Tom Udall (D-New Mexico). Phone: 202-224-6621 or Contact online


Senators John Kerry and Mark Pryor did not cast votes.

(Source: Roll Call 19 of the First Session of the 112th Congress)

13 thoughts on “Slick Surprise Senate Roll Call: Senate Passes Patriot Act 86-12 on 2/15”

  1. J. Clifford says:

    What the hell?!? I once believed that the Democratic Party could be a real vehicle for progressive change. Now, here we have a Democrat-controlled Senate helping George W. Bush keep his worst legislation in place years after Bush left office!

    I realize that a few Democrats did the right thing here, but they’re a minority within their own party!

    Damn, damn, damn!

  2. Jim Cook says:


    If you’re as upset as J. Clifford about this, notice the contact information. I put it there for a reason.

  3. Tom says:

    That’s precisely why i’m so frustrated at the fact that our damn government doesn’t work any more! i’ve been screaming this since Obama took office. We voted for change WHICH HE PROMISED in his campaign rhettoric, and here we are – same ol’ same ol’ years later. Politics is a sham. As George Carlin said, it gives us the illusion that we have some control. Well, the politicians don’t even care any more about hiding the fact that the system has been completely ruined by corporate money, special interest groups, lobbying, electoral fraud, and corruption is running rampant. We need an Egypt style uprising – and it may actually start happening in state capitals and in Washington as food prices soar, gas becomes ever-more expensive (and no alternatives are being developed), well-paying jobs continue to disappear and work in general becomes harder to find. i’m not even including the significant and increasing climate-change impact on all of this (which is driving food prices higher)!

    The civil unrest hasn’t even started here yet, but it’s coming. With so many young people out of work with nothing to do, they’ll have more time, frustration and reasons to start trouble, especially since Congress is committed to this “austerity” idea for the little people who had nothing to do with the financial fraud that’s being both rewarded and supported by our tax dollars (which could go for social support of the displaced masses, but since they have no “voice” or representation in Congress will be left to fend for themselves).

    i’m convinced that the powers that be know this is coming and that’s what’s driving all the homeland security legislation, FBI and police intrusion (and abuse), and prison-nation building that Congress is doing.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      I know, Tom, but the thing is that you screaming isn’t going to fix it. My screaming isn’t going to fix it. Other people joining in the shout — that’ll fix it.

      Keep in mind that Egypt looked to be wholly under Hosni Mubarak’s thumb a month ago. Sometimes it’s funny how the worm turns. Until it does, I’m just gonna keep chugging and hope that others will join in.

  4. J. Clifford says:

    This Patriot Act extension, I believe, is up for renewal again in December. I suggest that those of us who care about this issue start organizing NOW to push Congress hard to oppose any renewal again.

    Correction – DECEMBER OR THREE MONTHS FROM NOW – Depending on what the Conference Bill is resolved to do.

    1. Hendrix says:

      That’s so damn depressing. It looks too late to address the issue on their schedule as they will keep kicking this can down the road with no debate. If we want the Patriot act to end, we’ll have to get out there and demand that it be repealed immediately.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        Are you two willing to come to Washington DC for a Demonstration? Do you have in mind doing something else? What?

        1. Hendrix says:

          I would like to demonstrate in some way. DC is rather far from me; I would prefer a more distributed protest, but I would go to DC if I knew it would help. I’m conflicted on the idea of a “Repeal the Patriot act” single-issue protest. A certain amount of clarity is needed, but I would prefer to be organized around positive ideas (such as civil liberties /human rights) that people can come to understand and support after that specific goal is reached. Ideas that can also be used to protest torture and illegal invasions as well.

  5. greg says:

    When the party caucuses decide to vote in a block to support an act that is a work-around of the founding fathers’ intent for protection of citizens’ liberty, we have a problem. It makes one wonder what sort of horse trading went on that could move the senate to agree to citizen wiretaps and snooping into private financial records. Were they afraid of someone’s perception that they might be aiding terrorists? Didn’t we go through all of this “sheepdom” during the McCarthy era?

    1. Peregrin Wood says:

      Is it blackmail? Think of all the personal information that can be gathered using the Patriot Act – and then used against Patriot Act opponents.

  6. Hendrix says:

    I thought Al Franken knew better.

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