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Chris Hayes guest: 112th Congress succeeded most at ‘erosion of civil liberties’

By Samantha Kimmey
Sunday, January 6, 2013 21:33 EDT
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On UP with Chris Hayes on Sunday, the host and his group of panelists discussed the fact that the 112th Congress seemed to succeed in passing legislation mostly when it came to national security issues.

“How disturbing is it that the success of the 112th Congress is to pass legislation that essentially criminalizes elements of democracy? Like the place where a Democrat and a Republican comes together is in the erosion of civil liberties such that you’re literally turning back enshrined elements of American history, and that that is how we define success,” said Ether Armah of WBAI.org.

Chris Hayes noted that there was one week where partisan arguments over the fiscal cliff and Sandy relief funds took place, “And then it was like, oh yeah, by the way, the FISA extension just sailed through. The FISA extension! The FISA extension was the thing!”

In 2008, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said FISA provided an “ability to spy” “not in keeping with the Constitution.”

But in 2012, he called it “an important piece of legislation, imperfect as it is” and that it protects Americans from “evil in the world.”

“Nothing was changed between the reauthorization,” Hayes said, calling it “the exact same bill.”

The only difference? President George W. Bush was president in 2008, said Steve Ellis, of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

He went on to say it had been the most ineffectual Congress since World War ll.

“Except that it did specify as its agenda to block President Obama from doing anything, and insofar as that was its agenda from the election in 2008, it has arguably, sadly, been successful,” said Armah.

Watch the video, via MSNBC, below.

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