Rand Paul Promises To Filibuster To Stop The Renewal Of The Patriot Act

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has threatened to do everything in his power to stop the renewal of the anti-terrorist legislation called the Patriot Act, even if it means exercising his right to filibuster.

The Patriot Act famously grants the U.S. government’s National Security Agency permission to access citizen phone records and tap calls in order to identify terrorist plots, but many have come to consider the Bush-era bill to be intrusive and unnecessary. The law is set to expire on June 1, but members of Congress could push to extend the Patriot Act and keep its mandates in effect. According to the Associated Press, Rand Paul promised his constituents on Monday at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall that he would do “everything possible” to fight the law pushed by his own political party.

“We will do everything possible — including filibustering the Patriot Act to stop them.”

Though filibustering is a notoriously useful privilege available only to United States Senators, Rand Paul admitted that his filibuster of the Patriot Act will probably not be enough to kill the law.

“We do not have the votes to ultimately defeat the Patriot Act,” Rand Paul said. “I can delay it; I can force them to debate it so the public at large can know what they’re doing. They’ve got the votes inside the Beltway, but we have the votes outside the Beltway.”

Rand Paul seems to be using his opposition to the Patriot Act as part of his political platform, labeling his position as a defense of the Fourth Amendment, which is a section of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by U.S. law enforcement without a warrant. According to the Washington Post, Rand Paul held a press conference and a question and answer session at the Philadelphia Constitution Center to rally support against the Patriot Act.

“Our founding fathers would be appalled to know that we are writing one single warrant and collecting everyone’s phone records all of the time.”

According to the Boston Herald, in addition to promising to filibuster the Patriot Act’s renewal, Rand Paul also took the opportunity to make some campaign promises. Paul vowed that he would sign an executive order on his first day in office to completely eliminate government surveillance programs, if he is elected president. Rand Paul’s position stands in direct opposition to other members of his party, namely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Do you agree with Rand Paul? Should the Patriot Act be renewed or eliminated?

[Image credit: Getty]