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Amash: USA Freedom Act was Flipped so badly, a Majority of Cosponsors Voted Against It

A funny thing happened to the USA Freedom Act on its way to passage: it was turned inside-out and upside-down.

Rep. Justin Amash explains the turnabout in the legislation (HR 3361) and why he felt compelled to vote no:

“I am an original cosponsor of the Freedom Act, and I was involved in its drafting. At its best, the Freedom Act would have reined in the government’s unconstitutional domestic spying programs, ended the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ private records, and made the secret FISA court function more like a real court—with real arguments and real adversaries.

“I was and am proud of the work our group, led by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, did to promote this legislation, as originally drafted.
However, the revised bill that makes its way to the House floor this morning doesn’t look much like the Freedom Act.

“This morning’s bill maintains and codifies a large-scale, unconstitutional domestic spying program. It claims to end “bulk collection” of Americans’ data only in a very technical sense: The bill prohibits the government from, for example, ordering a telephone company to turn over all its call records every day.

“But the bill was so weakened in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the last week that the government still can order —- without probable cause —- a telephone company to turn over all call records for ‘area code 616’ or for ‘phone calls made east of the Mississippi.’ The bill green-lights the government’s massive data collection activities that sweep up Americans’ records in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

Is Justin Amash right? Did a majority of the cosponsors turn their backs on the USA Freedom Act in disgust and refuse to vote for such a changed bill? Let’s compare House Roll Call 230 to the cosponsorship list for HR 3361. Here are all the cosponsors of HR 3361, with party and date of cosponsorship listed and sorting by final vote on HR 3361’s passage:

Cosponsor Party Date Cosponsored Vote on the USA Freedom Act?
Rep. Amash, Justin [R-MI-3] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Bentivolio, Kerry L. [R-MI-11] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR-1] D 11/15/2013 N
Rep. Broun, Paul C. [R-GA-10] R 1/7/2014 N
Rep. Burgess, Michael C. [R-TX-26] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Campbell, John [R-CA-45] R 2/11/2014 N
Rep. Capuano, Michael E. [D-MA-7] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Clark, Katherine M. [D-MA-5] D 2/25/2014 N
Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9] D 5/6/2014 N
Rep. Cummings, Elijah E. [D-MD-7] D 11/15/2013 N
Rep. Daines, Steve [R-MT-At Large] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4] D 12/3/2013 N
Rep. DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1] D 5/7/2014 N
Rep. DelBene, Suzan K. [D-WA-1] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA-14] D 2/11/2014 N
Rep. Duncan, Jeff [R-SC-3] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Ellison, Keith [D-MN-5] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Eshoo, Anna G. [D-CA-18] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Farr, Sam [D-CA-20] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [R-PA-8] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Fleming, John [R-LA-4] R 12/3/2013 N
Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Gardner, Cory [R-CO-4] R 3/4/2014 N
Rep. Garrett, Scott [R-NJ-5] R 1/28/2014 N
Rep. Gibson, Christopher P. [R-NY-19] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Gohmert, Louie [R-TX-1] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Gosar, Paul A. [R-AZ-4] R 5/7/2014 N
Rep. Graves, Tom [R-GA-14] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Grayson, Alan [D-FL-9] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3] D 12/11/2013 N
Rep. Hanabusa, Colleen W. [D-HI-1] D 10/30/2013 N
Rep. Honda, Michael M. [D-CA-17] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Horsford, Steven A. [D-NV-4] D 10/30/2013 N
Rep. Huelskamp, Tim [R-KS-1] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Issa, Darrell E. [R-CA-49] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Jeffries, Hakeem S. [D-NY-8] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Jones, Walter B., Jr. [R-NC-3] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Jordan, Jim [R-OH-4] R 12/16/2013 N
Rep. Keating, William R. [D-MA-9] D 1/7/2014 N
Rep. Kingston, Jack [R-GA-1] R 11/21/2013 N
Rep. Labrador, Raul R. [R-ID-1] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Lewis, John [D-GA-5] D 10/30/2013 N
Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Marchant, Kenny [R-TX-24] R 3/4/2014 N
Rep. Massie, Thomas [R-KY-4] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA-6] D 1/7/2014 N
Rep. McClintock, Tom [R-CA-4] R 10/30/2013 N
Rep. McCollum, Betty [D-MN-4] D 10/30/2013 N
Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2] D 11/13/2013 N
Rep. Mulvaney, Mick [R-SC-5] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Neal, Richard E. [D-MA-1] D 3/5/2014 N
Rep. O’Rourke, Beto [D-TX-16] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Perry, Scott [R-PA-4] R 11/13/2013 N
Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1] D 11/13/2013 N
Rep. Poe, Ted [R-TX-2] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Polis, Jared [D-CO-2] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Ribble, Reid J. [R-WI-8] R 11/13/2013 N
Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Rohrabacher, Dana [R-CA-48] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Rokita, Todd [R-IN-4] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Salmon, Matt [R-AZ-5] R 12/3/2013 N
Rep. Sanford, Mark [R-SC-1] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Schweikert, David [R-AZ-6] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-15] D 5/7/2014 N
Rep. Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH-1] D 12/3/2013 N
Rep. Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Stockman, Steve [R-TX-36] R 12/11/2013 N
Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15] D 2/5/2014 N
Rep. Terry, Lee [R-NE-2] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Thompson, Bennie G. [D-MS-2] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Tierney, John F. [D-MA-6] D 11/13/2013 N
Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20] D 2/27/2014 N
Rep. Weber, Randy K. Sr. [R-TX-14] R 1/7/2014 N
Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large] D 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Yoho, Ted S. [R-FL-3] R 10/29/2013 N
Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37] D 10/29/2013 No Vote
Rep. Duffy, Sean P. [R-WI-7] R 10/29/2013 No Vote
Rep. Richmond, Cedric L. [D-LA-2] D 10/29/2013 No Vote
Rep. Amodei, Mark E. [R-NV-2] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Bera, Ami [D-CA-7] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Bridenstine, Jim [R-OK-1] R 1/10/2014 Y
Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26] D 11/20/2013 Y
Rep. Buchanan, Vern [R-FL-16] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Capps, Lois [D-CA-24] D 12/19/2013 Y
Rep. Carson, Andre [D-IN-7] D 11/21/2013 Y
Rep. Chu, Judy [D-CA-27] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Cicilline, David N. [D-RI-1] D 12/11/2013 Y
Rep. Coble, Howard [R-NC-6] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Coffman, Mike [R-CO-6] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Courtney, Joe [D-CT-2] D 12/16/2013 Y
Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3] D 12/19/2013 Y
Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-21] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Duncan, John J., Jr. [R-TN-2] R 2/11/2014 Y
Rep. Enyart, William L. [D-IL-12] D 10/30/2013 Y
Rep. Farenthold, Blake [R-TX-27] R 10/30/2013 Y
Rep. Garamendi, John [D-CA-3] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Goodlatte, Bob [R-VA-6] R 5/9/2014 Y
Rep. Gowdy, Trey [R-SC-4] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Green, Gene [D-TX-29] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Griffin, Tim [R-AR-2] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Guthrie, Brett [R-KY-2] R 2/11/2014 Y
Rep. Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA-3] R 5/7/2014 Y
Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA-50] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [D-GA-4] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Kennedy, Joseph P. III [D-MA-4] D 1/28/2014 Y
Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2] D 11/13/2013 Y
Rep. LaMalfa, Doug [R-CA-1] R 11/20/2013 Y
Rep. Lance, Leonard [R-NJ-7] R 5/7/2014 Y
Rep. Larsen, Rick [D-WA-2] D 11/13/2013 Y
Rep. Long, Billy [R-MO-7] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO-3] R 11/21/2013 Y
Rep. Lujan, Ben Ray [D-NM-3] D 2/10/2014 Y
Rep. Lynch, Stephen F. [D-MA-8] D 1/29/2014 Y
Rep. Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12] D 2/26/2014 Y
Rep. McDermott, Jim [D-WA-7] D 12/11/2013 Y
Rep. Messer, Luke [R-IN-6] R 12/16/2013 Y
Rep. Mica, John L. [R-FL-7] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Michaud, Michael H. [D-ME-2] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Moran, James P. [D-VA-8] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK-2] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Napolitano, Grace F. [D-CA-32] D 3/12/2014 Y
Rep. Noem, Kristi L. [R-SD-At Large] R 11/21/2013 Y
Rep. Nugent, Richard B. [R-FL-11] R 11/20/2013 Y
Rep. Pearce, Stevan [R-NM-2] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Peters, Gary C. [D-MI-14] D 5/7/2014 Y
Rep. Petri, Thomas E. [R-WI-6] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Quigley, Mike [D-IL-5] D 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9] D 12/11/2013 Y
Rep. Schrader, Kurt [D-OR-5] D 1/10/2014 Y
Rep. Scott, Austin [R-GA-8] R 1/10/2014 Y
Rep. Sherman, Brad [D-CA-30] D 1/28/2014 Y
Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4] R 10/30/2013 Y
Rep. Smith, Jason T. [R-MO-8] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Stewart, Chris [R-UT-2] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Thompson, Glenn [R-PA-5] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Tsongas, Niki [D-MA-3] D 3/4/2014 Y
Rep. Vela, Filemon [D-TX-34] D 12/3/2013 Y
Rep. Wilson, Joe [R-SC-2] R 4/10/2014 Y
Rep. Wittman, Robert J. [R-VA-1] R 5/15/2014 Y
Rep. Yoder, Kevin [R-KS-3] R 10/29/2013 Y
Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large] R 10/29/2013 Y

Justin Amash is right: 79 of the 151 original cosponsors of H.R. 3361 voted against it in its final version.

As you can see from the list of cosponsors, there was a lot of bipartisanship in the cosponsorship of the USA Freedom Act. Interestingly, there was equal bipartisanship in the set of cosponsors who deserted the bill after its meaning was flipped: 51.9% of Democratic cosponsors voted against the bill, while 52.7% of Republican cosponsors voted “No” — comparable shares in both parties.

Other original cosponsors have spoken out in opposition to the USA Freedom Act. Zoe Lofgren is of them:

In her remarks, Lofgren declared baldly that “this is not the bill that was voted out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously. I voted for that bill note because it was perfect, but because it was a step in the right direction. After the bill was reported out, changes were made without the knowledge of the committee members, and I think the result is a bill that will actually not end bulk data collection, regretfully. “

6 thoughts on “Amash: USA Freedom Act was Flipped so badly, a Majority of Cosponsors Voted Against It”

  1. Tom says:

    What’s the sense of having a government that doesn’t work? Why do we keep deluding ourselves that it’s the best thing since sliced bread when it’s clearly no longer even effective? Why support a government that abuses its power and treats its citizens as criminals?

  2. Tom says:

    Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction

    [quote from article]

    In its multi-part report, “The Koch Club,” written by Lewis, Eric Holmberg, Alexia Campbell, and Lydia Beyoud, the Workshop found that between 2007 and 2011 the Kochs donated $41.2 million to ninety tax-exempt organizations promoting the ultra-libertarian policies that the brothers favor—policies that are often highly advantageous to their corporate interests. In addition, during this same period they gave $30.5 million to two hundred and twenty-one colleges and universities, often to fund academic programs advocating their worldview. Among the positions embraced by the Kochs are fewer government regulations on business, lower taxes, and skepticism about the causes and impact of climate change.

    Climate-change policy directly affects Koch Industries’s bottom line. Koch Industries, according to Environmental Protection Agency statistics cited in the study, is a major source of carbon-dioxide emissions, the kind of pollution that most scientists believe causes global warming. In 2011, according to the E.P.A.’s greenhouse-gas-reporting database, the company, which has oil refineries in three states, emitted over twenty-four million tons of carbon dioxide, as much as is typically emitted by five million cars.

    [end of article]

    Lewis concludes that “One of the overarching themes from what we have found is that,” when it comes to blocking action on climate change, “things obviously go better with Koch!”

  3. Tom says:

    Bad U.S. Policy Pushes Russia, China and Iran Closer Together

    Heck Of a Job …

    As the following headlines show, bad American policy has pushed Russia, China and Iran closer together:
    ◾China calls for new Asian security structure based on group with Russia, Iran that excludes US (Fox)
    ◾Russia may build eight nuclear reactors for Iran (Reuters)
    ◾Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China (BBC)
    ◾Putin Post-Mortem: “Unipolar Model Of World Is Over… Give Us Our Money” (Zero Hedge)

    As we’ve repeatedly warned, the neocons and neolibs have pushed so hard to ensure a “New American Century” – i.e. American hegemony for another 100 years – that they’ve instead created “No American Century”.

    Heck of a job, guys …

  4. Dave says:

    Worthy comments, Tom. Especially the astute “No American Century” thing. Regarding a “government that doesn’t work,” I don’t think the government is broken, but that the nation right now is attempting to go forward with a broken social compact. The two major parties work hard to keep the American people squabbling over social issues while they work even harder to force our economic vitality into third world status. The other big players in the world are jockeying for position while Joe citizen doesn’t have a clue what’s really freaking going on.

    On massive data collection by the government, I saw my first drone in action the other day right here in our little resort town and it gave me the creeps. Are we all supposed to live with this “watched” feeling?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      I agree with your observations here. While issues like gay marriage create the appearance of democratic debate between two parties, there’s a broad consensus in DC that does not match popular priorities.

      Last week, I read an article written by a tech-booster in which concerns about privacy in an age of surveillance were labeled “so-called.” The author asked us all to look forward to the day when concern about drones in the air would be no greater than current concern about ever-present devices with cameras. His message: “don’t worry, they’ll get used to it. They always do!”

  5. Tom says:

    Did you see what the Iranians are doing with drones? Saving drowning people!

    Your observation is dead on Dave – most of the citizenry are too distracted to even consider what’s happening with their government. They’re going to be really surprised (and pissed) when climate change impacts everyone before too long (in the form of food shortages and everything becoming too expensive to afford).

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