WASHINGTON, May 26 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today voted against a four-year extension of government surveillance powers.
"I voted against extending the Patriot Act today for the same reason I voted against enacting it in 2001: it gives the government far too much power to spy on innocent United States citizens and provides for very little oversight or disclosure. While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and the civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."
As a result of a partisan impasse, no amendments to improve the bill were allowed. Sanders intended to offer an amendment supported by the American Library Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Booksellers which would have protected the rights of Americans who use libraries and bookstores. The amendment would have prevented the government from gaining access to Americans' reading records in libraries and bookstores without a traditional search warrant.