Progressives will “confront” Congressman Jim Langevin at a town hall meeting he is hosting in Cranston tonight at 6:30 for his support of the NSA spying on Americans.
“It’s time for him to hear from his constituents,” said David Segal, a former Rhode Island state representative who is the executive director of Demand Progress, a nationally-known advocacy group that supports civil liberties and internet freedom. The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats and other left-leaning groups are also planning on attending the town hall.
“The tide has turned: Americans are no longer willing to sacrifice their constitutionally enshrined civil liberties,” Segal said in a statement released this morning, “Yet Rep. Langevin steadfastly supports the monitoring of nearly every American under these secret programs, instituted under a secret process, justified by a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act.”
In a post on this site on July 25, Segal thanked his former opponent David Cicilline for supporting legislation that would “curtail the NSA’s regime of domestic surveillance,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, Rep. Langevin took a disappointing vote, as activists came up just short of overwhelming the efforts of the NSA, White House, and others to continue collecting Americans phone records and other data.”
Many progressive Democrats and civil libertarians are extremely upset with Langevin for not supporting what is known as the Amash Amendment, legislation sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, that if passed would have stopped the “National Security Agency’s secret collection of hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone records,” according to the AP.
In response to his vote, Langevin said in a statement “…while I respect the deeply-held convictions of those who disagree, I could not support the Amash Amendment. This amendment would have undermined a valuable intelligence collection tool that was initiated in 2001 and reauthorized by Congress multiple times with bipartisan support, most recently in 2011.”
Langevin is a moderately-liberal Democrat who has been moving to the left in recent years. He has long showed a progressive streak on economic issues and has shifted to the left on social issues, such as abortion and same sex marriage. Cyber-security has been an important issue to Langevin.