Thomas Massie, a Republican, and Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat, have teamed up to introduce a bipartisan bill designed to repeal the Patriot Act.
The two lawmakers are proposing legislation designed to limit government surveillance that takes place without warrants and probable cause.
The bill is called “The Protect Our Civil Liberties Act” and it seeks to repeal both the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, which allow government agencies to indiscriminately collect data on every American citizen.
In a video announcement posted to her Twitter account on Wednesday, Gabbard said the bill would see that Congress “reexamines how best to strike this balance of protecting our national security interests while also ensuring that the constitutional rights of every single American is preserved.”
“Protection of our civil liberties is essential. Join us in making sure that our constitutional rights are upheld,” she added.
Gabbard also said that intelligence agencies have “not been transparent or honest with the American people or even Congress about what they’ve been doing.”
The bill also seeks to protect whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange by making it illegal to retaliate against whistleblowers.
It would also ban “government-mandated back doors” that are often built into electronics and software.
Massie retweeted Gabbard’s video announcement and said that he is “honored to cosponsor a bill to repeal the Patriot Act with my friend across the aisle @TulsiGabbard.”
In a separate statement of his own, Massie said the Patriot Act violates the Fourth Amendment and has expanded domestic surveillance in the country.
“Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans,” he said.
The Patriot Act was authorized shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York City in September of 2001. The new policy drastically expanded the power of the US government, granting them unprecedented spying powers, along with the ability to kill and detain anyone deemed to be an “enemy combatant.”
Opponents of the law have criticized its provision for indefinite detention of immigrants, permission to law enforcement to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s consent or knowledge, as well as the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order, and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records.
Since its passage, several court challenges have been brought against the act, and federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.
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