House Passes Troubling Continuing Resolution

February 19, 2011 12:43 pm

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Bill Contains Many Anti-Civil Liberties Provisions

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WASHINGTON – The House passed a continuing resolution early today containing several troubling anti-civil liberties provisions.

“The bill passed by the House is a minefield for civil liberties,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office. “In a matter of days, the House has voted to jeopardize women’s health, chip away at due process rights and inhibit Americans’ unfettered access to the Internet. Americans’ rights and civil liberties should not be so easily discarded by those sworn to uphold the Constitution. The Senate should reject each of the disturbing amendments in this bill.”

The continuing resolution, H.R. 1, is a bill meant to fund the government through the current fiscal year and is considered “must pass” legislation, but became a vehicle for many problematic amendments, including:

An amendment introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) barring funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s implementation of recently adopted net neutrality rules; and
An amendment to eliminate all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) penalizing Planned Parenthood because its clinics perform abortions, though they do so without federal dollars.
The House also failed to adopt a positive amendment that would have scaled back the reach of an overbroad Patriot Act provision.

The base language for the continuing resolution also had troubling provisions including one that would eliminate funds to the critical Title X National Family Planning Program, which provides much needed services nationwide and is the only way for many low-income families to access essential reproductive health care, as well as a blanket ban on Guantánamo detainee transfers to the United States for any reason, including prosecution in federal courts. The transfer ban is significant because it would apply to all government funds, and not just to the Defense Department funds that already are restricted.

The Senate has expressed opposition to taking up the final House bill and President Obama, citing several concerns, has issued a veto threat for the legislation.

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