President Threatens to Veto Patriot Act Reform Legislation, Dismisses Bipartisan Calls for Checks and Balances

June 16, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has threatened to veto legislation passed Wednesday by the House of Representatives that would reform the controversial “library records provision” of the Patriot Act. The “Freedom to Read” proposal, offered by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), denies funding for FBI access to library and bookstore records under section 215 of the Patriot Act, and was approved by a bipartisan majority (238-187).

The following can be attributed to Lisa Graves, Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy:

“This threat is the latest indication that the administration is willing to go to extreme lengths to maintain its power grab. Nearly 400 communities, including seven states, have passed Patriot Act reform resolutions. Conservative groups have lined up in opposition to some of the worst provisions of the act. And now lawmakers have come together, across the aisle, for change. But the administration continues to turn a deaf ear to these concerns.

“The legislation passed by the House puts reasonable checks on government power, without compromising the ability of law enforcement agents to investigate criminal activity where there is sufficient evidence. It merely safeguards against fishing expeditions into the reading habits of ordinary Americans. Yet again, the people have spoken that they want the Patriot Act brought in line with the Constitution by restoring proper checks and balances. It’s time for the administration to listen.”

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the Patriot Act, go to:

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