As Congress heads into a weeklong recess, I hope members of the Senate have a chance to listen to their constituents back home. All Americans want to fight terrorism and protect our country from those who wish to do us harm, but they don’t want to sacrifice the rights and principles our country was founded upon. One of those fundamental American principles is that the President doesn’t get to pick and choose which laws he follows.
There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks, and especially this week, about Congress changing the law to authorize the President’s otherwise illegal domestic surveillance program. Of course, anyone who makes that argument concedes that the program is illegal. In addition, the President has yet to explain convincingly why he can’t follow the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which allows wiretapping of terrorists while protecting law-abiding Americans.
The President has broken the law, and the censure resolution I introduced on Monday is intended to hold him accountable. While there have been plenty of personal attacks directed at me this week, few have argued the merits. The facts for censure are clear. FISA makes it a crime to wiretap American citizens on American soil without the requisite court orders–which is exactly what the President has admitted doing. Before the program was revealed, he misled the American people by assuring them that he was getting warrants for wiretaps. Since it was revealed, he has misled the American people about the legal basis for his actions.
I look forward to a full hearing, debate and vote in committee on this important matter. If the Committee fails to consider the resolution in a reasonable time period, I will ask that there be a vote in the full Senate. I know Americans will have a lot to say when they see their elected officials during the break. I hope my colleagues listen.