— Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
We welcome yesterday’s vote by the House of Representatives against reauthorizing provisions within the Patriot Act that weaken Americans’ civil liberties. As the 2003 resolution titled Civil Liberties and National Security: Striking the Proper Balance, passed by the Union for Reform Judaism Board of Trustees pointed out, the Patriot Act included provisions that did not serve our national security interests and were intrusions in our civil liberties. Among these are the provisions voted on yesterday that allow roving wiretaps on surveillance targets, give access to library records and other information, and permit wiretaps of targets not connected to a terrorist organization. Yesterday’s bipartisan vote of opposition is hopefully the start of an essential conversation about how to best ensure the safety of our nation while preserving the core values that make America great.
This vote was held under a rules suspension that required a 2/3 vote for passage. While we recognize that the bill will likely be voted on again without a rules suspension, allowing for a simple majority to pass it, we urge the members of the 112th Congress to continue to oppose the reauthorization of these Patriot Act provisions and uphold the liberties that are the pride of our nation.