The Senate just voted to extend the PATRIOT Act for another four years. I joined 22 colleagues in opposition to the extension.

Today’s vote represents a missed opportunity to improve the PATRIOT Act and ensure it protects the constitutional rights of the American people. The extension bill offers no reforms. It offers no recognition of the government’s responsibility to defend not just our national security, but our civil liberties too.

As the Washington Post noted today, the extension legislation should have included the oversight and auditing requirements that I proposed and a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved. The omission of these important provisions in the Leahy Amendment in the final bill prompted my "No" vote today.

We can keep our country secure without treating all Americans like potential lawbreakers. We cannot allow the government to search homes and businesses without any proper reason or accountability. That very form of injustice compelled our Founders to revolution.

The American people expect us to both protect our rights and keep us safe.


Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator