Amash-Conyers Fails 205-217

In one of the closest votes in a long time for civil liberties, the Amash-Conyers amendment just failed, but only barely, by a vote of 205-217.

The debate was lively, with Mike Rogers, Michele Bachmann, and Iraq verteran Tom Cotton spoke against the amendment; Amash closely managed time to include a broad mix of Democrats and Republicans.

The only nasty point of the debate came when Mike Rogers (R-MI) suggested Justin Amash (R-MI) was leading this charge for Facebook likes.

Update: Here’s the roll call.

25 replies
  1. C says:

    There was also the point where the powers that be gave 15 minutes for voting on a different amendment that “clarified” that the program was ok because it collected no content and then only gave 2 minutes for voting on the Amash/Conyers amendment.

    There was also the part where Mike Rogers accused Amash of having “Forgotten 9/11” so TERROR!

  2. C says:

    @P J Evans: I wish that I could be surprised by this. Pelosi has been disappoing in her willingness, nay eagerness, to toe the party line (i.e. Obama’s line). While she once was a stauch advocate for Civil Liberties she has since, Like Harry Reid, been revealed to be just interested in partisanship and wholly uninterested in actual principle.

  3. grayslady says:

    Illinois has 12 Dem congress members out of 18 total. Only two–Danny Davis and Bobby Rush–voted for Amash amndt. Two out of our six Repubs also voted for Amash. Not worth voting Dem in Illinois anymore.

  4. harpie says:


    Bill Would Repeal PATRIOT Act, Other Over-broad Surveillance Law

    (Washington, DC) Today Rep. Rush Holt introduced legislation to repeal federal surveillance laws that the government abused by collecting personal information on millions of Americans in violation of the Constitution, as revealed by a federal whistleblower and multiple media outlets last month.
    “The executive branch’s groundless mass surveillance of Americans has turned our conception of liberty on its head. My legislation would restore the proper constitutional balance and ensure our people are treated as citizens first, not suspects.”

    Holt is running for the NJ Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg. The primary election [against Cory Booker] is Aug. 13. The special election is on Oct. 16.

  5. CroneWit says:

    Marcy, I hope you will find time to analyze the Amash/Conyers voter more deeply in the coming days. My first thought at the results was a qualified ‘hooray’, because of the bi-partisan, closely-split vote appears to support the actions of Fourth Amendment protection groups. Then I had a cynical second thought, and I’d really like to see your take on this:

    The Nugent (Pompero?) vote that preceded the A/C vote was passed 409 to 12 (I don’t have Dem/GOP split). Then the A/C vote lost by 12 votes, 205/217, with Yes votes fairly evenly split between Dems/GOP.

    So here’s the cynical thought: The Nugent Amendment (in my limited understanding) ‘left the status quo the same’ — and it won 409 votes. The A/C Amendment would have de-funded ONLY the dragnet collection on all American residents, while leaving the rest of the program the same.

    The 409 Nugent Yes votes must contain the 205 Yes votes on A/C. So not only did the A/C vote (narrowly) fail, the Nugent votes passed with the support of the 205 A/C votes. So — the status quo stands, with support of 409 House members.

    Did we just get snookered by a dog-and-pony show? Was the Nugent Amendment (keep status quo) the ‘real’ Amendment, while the A/C Amendment was theatre? Or am I just too far, at this point, into total distrust of my government to see straight? (I don’t really expect you to answer this last question.)

    And am I living in a fool’s paradise to see the A/C 205 Yes votes as a strategic win for the cause of support for winning back the Fourth Amendment?

    Sorry this sounds like a Dear Abby letter. Just sign me —

    Confused in America

  6. pejsek says:

    Nancy Pelosi is my Representative. I was unable to get through to the DC office this afternoon, so I called the local office. In reply to my query about how Pelosi would be voting on the Amash ammendment, the staffer said they couldn’t say because of “security reasons.” Completely unacceptable answer, of course. Probably a sign that she was getting a lot of heat and didn’t want to go on record until she knew how things would unfold. I would still expect better weasel words. Can’t imagine she was getting a lot of calls in favor of the NSA. No matter how cynical I think I’ve become I guess it’s a good thing that I still retain the ability to be shocked and dismayed. You mean we’re not part of the picture?

  7. CroneWit says:

    I may have answered my own question, by re-reading this article at TechDirt:

    To summarize, the Amash/Conyers Amendment addressed Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The Nugent/Popero Amendment did not address Section 215 — it addressed the Prism program under Section 702 of FISA and did not address Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

    So the back-to-back Amendments did not let Reps vote both For, then Against, continued funding for Section 215 funding for blanket collection of American’s data. If I’m understanding it properly now.

  8. bmaz says:

    A personal fuck you, er thank you, to the Democratic House Leadership who are responsible for this failure. But, hey, nobody carries White House water like they do.

  9. emptywheel says:

    @C: Yep. The Rogers/Amash thing was a peach. Hoping to exacerbate that to Rogers’ detriment.

  10. lefty665 says:

    @bmaz: Thank you bmaz, I second that emotion. My congressman, Eric Cant(or won’t), also voted No. It is bipartisan water hauling.

  11. C says:

    @emptywheel: Yes. I plan to make a few thank you calls and one or two choice “bite me” calls as well.

    The real question is how can we make this seem costly from a donations perspective.

  12. Arbusto says:

    @ 10bmaz: I third that emotion. Just emailed my pitiful rep (lower case) j mcnerney CA09 on my disgust. Living in the Central Valley among unthinking repugs, I’d hoped that with Lungren losing in CA03 to Bera, I’d have a voice in governing, even if Galt moved to CA09. WTF. At least Bera voted fuck no.

  13. C says:

    @CroneWit: Yeah that was my reading as well. The first vote was sold as clarifying that they cannot collect “content” under one part of the program so it wasn’t contradictory. Having said that the leadership made a point of allowing plenty of time for the former to cut down on time for the latter.

  14. C says:

    One thing I plan to do, and humbly encourage others to do if like me you are fortunate enough to have a sane rep is to say thanks. They never ever hear that so it makes a big difference when the leadership comes calling to criticize them.

  15. C says:

    One more example of strange bedfellows is Michele Bachmann, not known for trusting the Obama administration with, well anything, arguing:

    “If we take this program and remove from the United States the distinct advantage that we have versus any other country,” she argued, “it will be those who are seeking to achieve the goals of Islamic jihad who will benefit by putting the United States at risk, and it will be the United States which will be at risk.”

    “I believe that we need to win the War on Terror,” she continued. “We need to defeat the goals and aims of Islamic jihad, and for that reason I will be voting no on the Amash amendment.”


    This from a woman who is convinced that Anthony Wiener’s wife poses an existential threat to the U.S.

    Obama bad, Islamic jihad worse, War on Terrer good. Got it!

  16. JohnT says:

    @Arbusto: McNurney’s been a disappointment almost from day one. PS we wanted Ami Bera to vote yes. I really wish Dr Bill Durston would have beat Lungren the two times he ran, he would’ve voted the right way on this

  17. JohnT says:

    Matsui (D) was a surprising yes. I personally know someone she told that we need programs like this to continue — and she voted the right way

    Garamendi (D) voted yes.

    McClintock (R) voted yes. He has faults, but this vote is not so surprising, because he’s more Libertarian than Republican on civil liberties

  18. Jim White says:

    @C: Yup, I already did a public thank you on Twitter. I am now represented by a Tea Party wingnut, Ted Yoho. Not only did Yoho vote yes, he also even co-sponsored the bill. When Yoho was elected, I saw him as just a novelty who would vote virtually the same as our previous wingnut Republican representative Cliff Stearns. After being upset by Yoho, Stearns is now a lobbyist with APCO, concentrating, among other things, on telecommunications. He undoubtedly would have voted for more surveillance. At least in this one regard, Yoho has actually been an upgrade for our district.

  19. karenjj2 says:

    or the title of this article could be, “Amendment IV of Constitution repudiated/nullified by 7 votes” including Pelosi and Hoyer.

  20. GulfCoastPirate says:

    I think it’s remarkable this thing got 205 votes. This issue isn’t going to go away. As we get closer to another election folks won’t have the luxury of voting ‘no’ next time.

  21. thatvisionthing says:

    @karenjj2: Pelosi 2007 on blogger conference call:

    Speaker Pelosi: I made a decision a few years ago, or at least one year ago, that impeachment was something that we could not be successful with and that would take up the time we needed to do some positive things to establish a record of our priorities and their short-comings, and the President is… ya know what I say? The President isn’t worth it… he’s not worth impeaching. We’ve got important work to do…

    Mike Stark: Respectfully, that’s not the question. Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it.

    Speaker Pelosi: Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed.

Comments are closed.