August 4, 2013
List of Reps who voted for NSA spying on all Americans
August 4, 2013. Washington. Aaron Swartz is dead. Bradley Manning will be in prison for life. Edward Snowden is in exile. Jeremy Hammond will never touch a computer again. They all have one thing in common – they tried to warn Americans that the US government has declared the American people the enemy. And this week, Congress voted to continue the NSA’s universal, 24 hour spying on all Americans. Here is the list of Representatives that voted for it.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) on the House floor arguing on behalf of his Amendment to limit NSA spying on all Americans. Image courtesy of Rep. Justin Amash.
US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may have said it best while arguing why the NSA – America’s secret police – must continue spying on the activities of all Americans 24 hours a day. He explained, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Readers may be wondering where they’ve heard that before. It was Nazi Germany’s Joseph Goebbles convincing the German people why spying on them was in their own best interest. Just like Senator Graham, he explained, “You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide.”
NSA spying and the Amash Amendment
While Congress and the President continue to cut funding for senor citizens, the poor, the middle class, education, Wall Street oversight and all the things that make America a better place, President Obama and his Republican allies are determined to move those taxpayer funds to pay for more wars and more spying on Americans.
In the days leading up to last week’s House vote on a Bill that would authorize funding for the Defense Department’s numerous wars and espionage activities, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) introduced an Amendment that would strip funding for the NSA’s program of continuous, universal spying on all American citizens.
That constant, across-the-board, domestic spying includes continuous monitoring of small children, crippled senior citizens and quadriplegics hospitalized in a vegetative state. The fact is, if you’re an American citizen and you’re ‘on the grid’ somehow, the Defense Department is wasting billions of dollars spying on you, and according to some, violating your civil rights.
Rep. Amash’s Amendment to HR 2397, a Defense funding Bill, was simple and to the point. It would have merely limited the NSA’s ability to spy on Americans they had no legitimate reason to spy on. If passed, the Amendment would have only funded spying programs targeting actual suspects or persons of interest. Currently, all Americans are the subject of nonstop monitoring by the NSA.
Text of the Amendment
As provided by the House of Representatives website, the Amash Amendment reads as follows:
‘None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to execute a Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Court order pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861) that does not include the following sentence: “This Order limits the collection of any tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls) that may be authorized to be collected pursuant to this Order to those tangible things that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).”’
The Amash Amendment was defeated by a vote of 217-205 with 12 Representatives ‘Not Voting’. The NSA will continue to be fully funded to spy on all Americans 24 hours a day. In the end, the vote was bipartisan with most Democrats supporting the Republican Congressman’s Amendment and most Republican Representatives siding with President Obama in opposing it. If anything, the division came down to the richest, most powerful, entrenched, establishment politicians supporting the NSA’s spying, while modest, Main Street Representatives opposed it.
Those opposing the Amendment and supporting the NSA included such elite politicians as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and former Speaker and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and former GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) also voted against the Amendment. Even House Tea Party Caucus Chair and former Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN), as well as DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), also both opposed the Amash Amendment.
Roll call vote on Amash Amendment on July 24, 2013 (from US House Clerk)
217 votes against the Amash Amendment and in support of constant, universal spying on all Americans:
Johnson, E. B.
205 Representatives voting for the Amash Amendment which would limit NSA spying to Americans who are actually suspects or persons of interest:
Lujan Grisham (NM)
Luján, Ben Ray (NM)
Sánchez, Linda T.
12 Representatives who didn’t bother voting:
For more information, or to watch videos of the Amendment’s debate on the floor of the US House of Representatives, visit the Congressional website of Amendment Sponsor Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).
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