Merkley: Extending the PATRIOT Act Without Meaningful Debate or Amendments Is a Disservice to America

Washington, D.C.  – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after voting against the 4-year extension of the three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. 

“America was founded upon the principles of liberty and freedom, and while we undoubtedly need to ensure our law enforcement and intelligence officers have the tools they need to keep us safe, we cannot sacrifice our Constitutional rights as American citizens.

“I am outraged that the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act have been extended with little to no scrutiny and little opportunity for amendments or debate. These provisions give broad authority to access our personal information, including phone, email, and library records, in secret, with virtually no checks or balances.  The government won’t even tell the American people how it interprets these provisions, or whether it sees any limits on its authority at all. 

“These are complicated issues implicating both our nation’s security and our most fundamental Constitutional values.  A rushed passage of a four year extension does a disservice to the American people, who sent us here to protect their rights and uphold the standard of the Constitution.”