by Brian Irving
The parliamentary palaver in the U.S. House of Representatives over the extension of provisions of the questionably named PATRIOT Act should put to rest any illusion that the new Republican majority, even with its Tea Party flavor, is really committed to limited government and protecting Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Even though the measure was technically defeated, it was only because the Republican leadership attempted to have the bill quickly and quietly approved in a so-called “expedited procedure,” which incidentally didn’t allow amendments and limited debate to 40 minutes. But the plan backfired, because the process required a two-thirds majority.
The vote was 277-148; the 210 Republicans who yes included several supported by the Tea Party movement. The vote gave new meaning to the cliché “politics make strange bedfellows.” Democrats Heath Shuler, Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre and Brad Miller voted in favor, along with Howard Coble, Renee Ellmers, Virginia Foxx, Patrick McHenry, and Sue Myrick.
Both Coble and Myrick are listed as Tea Party Caucus members on Rep. Michelle Bachman’s website. Ellmers, who upset long-time incumbent Bob Etheridge, was elected with Tea Party support.
Opposing the bill were Republican Walter Jones and Democrats David Price and Mel Watt.