This is not the House we’re talking about, these are our “prestigious” and influential United States Senators who apparently have better things to do than get briefed on something as important as the NSA program. Go figure…
Fifty three senators skipped Friday’s briefing on the secret NSA data mining program, because they wanted to go home early for Father’s Day weekend.
According to The Hill:
The Senate held its last vote of the week a little after noon on Thursday, and many lawmakers were eager to take advantage of the short day and head back to their home states for Father’s Day weekend.
Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity. The room on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center is large enough to fit the entire Senate membership, according to a Senate aide.
The problem is that these same senators who skipped the briefing are in charge of overseeing the program. When congress doesn’t take its oversight duties seriously, or even worse, abusing their powers to chase empty scandals, the freedoms of every American are at risk.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about the Patriot Act and surveillance programs. This is about 53 members of the Senate who refused to stay at work, and do their jobs.
The problem of members not attending briefings is a rampant epidemic. Members of congress constantly blow off important briefings, and instead rely on special interest groups to tell them how to vote. This is how the NRA was able to stop wildly popular background checks legislation. Some members of congress vote how they are told to, because they fear that special interest groups will work against them in the next reelection campaign if they don’t.
The next time a member of congress claims that they didn’t know about something, the first question asked should be, “Did you attend the briefing?” The odds are pretty good that they didn’t.
The fact of the matter is that a majority of the Senate doesn’t care about secret domestic spying. Most of them either voted for or to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
The bigger story is that our congress is more interested in going home than doing the people’s business. The main reason why our legislative process is broken is because the people we are sending to the House and Senate don’t care enough to do their jobs.
There are millions of dads who will be working this Father’s Day. They don’t have the luxury of blowing off work, like 53 members of the United States Senate.
- Hoyer: No comparison between Obama, Bush surveillance programs (thehill.com)
- NSA Surveillance Program Oversight: White House, Congress Point Fingers At Each Other (huffingtonpost.com)
- NSA chief: Surveillance helped stop “dozens” of threats (cbsnews.com)
- Despite Obama claim, appears not all members of Congress got the call on NSA phone snooping (thelead.blogs.cnn.com)
- Sensenbrenner angry that he didn’t know what NSA was doing. Too bad he skipped the briefings (tv.msnbc.com)
- Obama deflects criticism over NSA surveillance as Democrats sound alarm (guardian.co.uk)