October 27, 2004
Calls needed as Intelligence Reform Conference Committee continues its work
Thank you to everyone who has made calls and sent messages to Congress about the intelligence reform bill. Please keep up the grassroots pressure on the conferees with more calls, e-mails, faxes, and letters. This message summarizes the conference committee's progress and offers suggestions for further contact.
Update on conferees progress: Little progress has been made so far, so there will be no final vote by the full Congress this week. However, conferees are continuing to work on Title I and should begin working on Title III tomorrow. The compromise bill they end up with, possibly later this week, will be what Congress votes on when they return November 16 for their "lame duck" section. Now is the time for your calls to keep unacceptable provisions out of the bill.
To help you, we have drafted sample talking points concerning (1) the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, (2) the anti-immigrant provisions of H.R. 10, and (3) H.R. 10's "Patriot II" sections. Feel free to pick and choose the points you want to make or create your own. Contact numbers and links for more information follow. Action alerts on specific issues and with cross-issue messaging are available from the Rights Working Group. Many of these alerts will automatically email your Representative.
To the Senate
"My name is .... This call is in reference to the Conference Committee on S. 2845 and H.R.10. I'm calling to urge the Senator to remain firm and:
- Not compromise on the creation of a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to review policies across all agencies involved in protecting the nation against terrorism. We need a board that is strong enough to subpoena the information it needs, and that is independent, nonpartisan, and transparent. The House version of the board is unacceptable because its members would be appointed by the President without Senate confirmation, it would lack the authority to obtain documents or to interview anyone outside the federal government, and it would effectively be exempt from FOIA.
- Not accept any compromises that include the divisive House immigration provisions such as the ones taken from the draft "Patriot II." As the 9/11 Commission has stated, we need "a full and informed debate on the Patriot Act." Congress wisely placed sunsets on several controversial sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, which expire at the end of next year. The time to consider expanding the USA PATRIOT Act or adopting parts of "Patriot II" is AFTER next year's debate on whether the "sunset" provisions should be renewed.
To the House
"My name is .... This call is in reference to the Conference Committee on H.R.10 and S. 2845. I'm calling to ask the Representative to follow the Senate lead and support true bipartisan intelligence reform.
- The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board created by the House bill lacks the strength, independence, and transparency needed to be effective and to reassure the American people that its government is committed to protecting civil liberties. The Senate version would create a board that is strong enough to subpoena the information it needs, and that is independent, nonpartisan, and transparent.
- The immigration provisions in the House bill, including some provisions from the draft of "Patriot II," will drive millions of people further underground, alienate immigrant communities, and separate American families. This will not make us safer. As the 9/11 Commission stated, we need "a full and informed debate on the Patriot Act." These issues and others like them can be debated next year during the discussions on whether the "sunset" provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act should be renewed.
In addition to contacting your own members of Congress (http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/), please also contact conference leadership and other conferees if you have the ability to do so. Numbers are as follows:
- *Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) - 202-224-2523; 202-224-2693 (fax) ALSO Governmental Affairs Committee at 202-224-4751; 202-224-9603 (fax)
- * Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) - 202-224-4041; 202-224-9750 (fax)
- Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) - 202-224-3353; 202-228-1382 (fax)
- Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) - 202-224-5641; 202-224-1152 (fax)
- Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) - 202-224-2841; 202-228-4131 (fax)
- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) - 202-224-4774; 202-224-3514 (fax)
- Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) - 202-224-2315; 202-224-6519 (fax)
- Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) - 202-224-6253; 202-224-2262 (fax)
- Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) - 202-224-6221; 202-224-1388 (fax)
- Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) - 202-224-2152; 202-228-0400 (fax)
- Sen. John Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) - 202-224-6472; 202-224-7665 (fax)
- Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) - 202-224-3041; 202-224-2237 (fax)
- Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) - 202-224-3224; 202-228-4054 (fax)
- *Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) - 202-225-4401; 202-226-0779 (fax) ALSO Intelligence Committee at 202-225-4121; 202-225-1991 (fax)
- * Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) - 202-225-8220; 202-226-7290 (fax) Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) - 202-225-4561; 202-225-1166 (fax)
- Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) - 202-225-2305; 202-225-7018 (fax)
- Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) - 202-225-5672; 202-225-0235 (fax)
- Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) - 202-225-5101; 202-225-3190 (fax)
- Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) - 202-225-7919; 202-226-0792 (fax)
- Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) - 202-225-2876; 202-225-2695 (fax)
Links for More Information
BORDC updates its home page, legislation page, and articles page with new information on the progress of this bill. We thank the following organizations, portions of whose action alerts and resources we have used in this and other alerts. Please visit their web sites for more information: