What: All Issues : War & Peace : H R 2417. Fiscal 2004 Intelligence Authorization/Vote on Final Passage of a Conference Report Which Would Authorize Federal Funding for Intelligence Activities in 2004. (2003 house Roll Call 649)
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H R 2417. Fiscal 2004 Intelligence Authorization/Vote on Final Passage of a Conference Report Which Would Authorize Federal Funding for Intelligence Activities in 2004.
house Roll Call 649     Nov 20, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

The subject of this vote was final passage of a conference report on the intelligence authorization bill which would authorize an estimated $40 billion in 2004 for fourteen U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA, FBI, and NSC (a conference report, the final version of a piece of legislation, is hashed out in conference committee negotiations between the House and Senate after each legislative body completed action on the measure). The exact amount provided in the conference report to intelligence agencies generally and intelligence related activities specifically is classified. The major issue which arose during debate on the conference report involved a provision which would expand the FBI's search powers in terrorism-related cases. Under the original 1978 law governing FBI searches, the FBI is allowed to examine an individual's financial records from banks, credit unions, and other traditional financial institutions without a court order. The provision included in the intelligence authorization would expand the FBI's search powers to include financial records from car dealerships, pawn shops, casinos, and travel agencies as well as banks and credit unions. Progressives opposed expanding the FBI's search powers and argued that the new powers could be used to violate individuals' civil liberties. Perhaps the most concise statement in opposition to the search provision came from Representative Otter, a Republican from Idaho: "With this legislation we eliminate the judicial oversight that was built into our system for a reason-to make sure our precious liberties are protected." Other Conservatives disagreed with Otter's assessment and argued that the expanded search powers stuck an appropriate balance between the intelligence gathering needs of the FBI and the civil liberties of U.S. citizens. On a vote of 264-163, the conference report on the intelligence authorization bill was adopted and the measure was signed into law by President Bush on December 13, 2003.

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