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Senator Blocks Attempt to Pass Bill

by Jesse J. Holland -AP Press Writer Thursday, Oct. 11, 2001 at 1:33 PM

Call congressional reps and senators now! Call Feingold and urge him not to give in! Read below, and compare Feingold's relatively minor objections and then compare those to the other totalitarian police powers described in www.aclu.org that he is NOT objecting to! The capitol switchboard number is 202.224.3121

By Jesse J. Holland

Associated Press Writer Wednesday,

Oct. 10, 2001; 9:28 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON –– The Bush administration's anti-terrorism legislation has stalled because of one senator's concern that it will erode civil liberties.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., tried to hurry the bill through Tuesday, but Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., refused Daschle's request to let the bill go through without debate or amendment.

"I can't quite understand why we can't have just a few hours of debate," said Feingold, who wants the chance to limit some of the police powers in the Senate legislation.

The House and Senate last week came up with anti-terrorism bills based on an outline offered by Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has been urging Congress to quickly pass the bill. When Senate negotiations on an airline security bill stalled, Daschle asked senators to unanimously agree to move on to the anti-terrorism bill.

Under Daschle's plan, the Senate would have voted on final passage of the bill Tuesday evening and senators would not have been allowed to offer amendments. But Feingold refused to go along, saying he wanted to add four important amendments to limit some of the bill's police powers.

Feingold's amendments would:

–Eliminate a provision in the bill that would allow police to secretly search suspects' homes.

–Narrow a provision that allows federal officials to wiretap telephones.

–Keep the FBI from being able to access Americans'personal records.

–Clarify the federal government's ability to wiretap computers.

"It is crucial that civil liberties in this country be preserved," Feingold said. "Otherwise the terrorists will win the battle against American values without firing another shot."

The anti-terrorism bill now will have to wait until senators finish the aviation bill, which worries some senators. "There is a danger that the aviation bill will tangle up the rest of this week, and we won't be able to

get to it until next week," said Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.

After a congressional leadership meeting with President Bush at the White House Wednesday, Lott said, "We are very much committed to working through getting a counterterroism bill and also addressing the very important question of aviation security.

"These are not easy issues," he said. "It is very important to find the right kind of balance. But we had an opportunity again to discuss it with the president and we're committed to working in the Senate and in the House to getting these two very important pieces of legislation, as we begin to go forward on appropriations bills also."

The House, meanwhile, is expected to move on an anti-terrorism bill before the end of the week. However, House aides say administration officials are pressuring House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., to take the Senate bill

instead of the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

The Bush administration prefers the Senate bill to the House bill, which eliminates most of the bill's police power in 2004. The House bill also does not have anti-money-laundering provisions requested by the White House.

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that regardless of what's in either bill, it will be changed in negotiations between the House and Senate.

The bills are H.R. 2975 and S. 1510.

On the Net:

Senate committee: http://judiciary.senate.gov

House committee: http://www.house.gov/judiciary

Call congressional reps and senators now! Call Feingold and urge him not to give in! The capitol switchboard number is 202.224.3121

C

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wahoo! hooboy Thursday, Oct. 11, 2001 at 2:56 PM
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