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updated: 2/9/2011 6:55 PM

Hultgren stands out with "no" vote against Patriot Act extension

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  • Rep. Randy Hultgren

      Rep. Randy Hultgren

  • Rep. Joe Walsh

      Rep. Joe Walsh

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger

      Rep. Adam Kinzinger

 
By Kerry Lester
Politics and Projects Writer

In keeping with the goal of reducing the size of the federal government, a freshman congressman from Winfield was one of just 26 Republican representatives who broke from their party and voted against extending provisions of the Patriot Act.

Rep. Randy Hultgren's vote was key to stopping the extension of provisions that are to expire at the end of the month and were originally enacted in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack to prevent terrorism.

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The legislation fell seven votes short Tuesday of the two-thirds majority needed for passage.

The provisions that will expire allow roving wiretaps; FBI access to business records; and secret intelligence surveillance of non-U.S. residents.

Hultgren, who represents the 14th District, said his vote reflects his focus on reducing the size of the federal government.

And, he said he had reservations about the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, in particular the FBI access to records.

Hultgren said he was disappointed that the vote came with "little opportunity for debate and no opportunity for any amendments to be offered."

Immediately after the vote, analysts were quick to point a finger at the House tea party caucus, founded last year.

But an analysis of the vote found that while several inaugural members of the caucus, including Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, were among the 26 "no" votes, not all candidates affiliated with the tea party joined them.

Of Illinois' suburban delegation, 8th District Rep. Joe Walsh and 11th District Rep. Adam Kinzinger, both backed by local tea party groups, voted for extension of the provisions. They joined Republican 6th District Rep. Peter Roskam, 13th District Rep. Judy Biggert, 10th District Rep. Robert Dold and 16th District Rep. Don Manzullo.

Aside from Hultgren, Evanston Democrat Jan Schakowsky was the only suburban congresswoman to vote "no."

"While Americans civil liberties must always be protected, we are at war," said Walsh, of McHenry. "We have to continue to use every tool at our disposal."

Kinzinger, a Mateno air force pilot, said he's seen the Patriot Act provide invaluable legal tools to detect, and prevent potential terrorist plots.

The measure could be brought up for consideration again as early as Thursday.

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