Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

More Laws Should Have Sunsets



The past weekend’s Senate debate over the PATRIOT Act reminds us of the value of placing sunsets in legislation. For years, the National Security Agency had operated far beyond its statutory authorities. Congress repeatedly complained, but the agency inevitably continued doing as it thought fit. But thankfully, when the act was originally passed, Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) had insisted on including a sunset on Section 215’s bulk information-vacuuming authorities. This expiration provision opened the window for a debate about the wisdom of these policies.

Too often, Congress enacts legislation in perpetuum. This habit has real costs for our democratic republic. Here are three reasons why sunset provisions should be included in more laws…. (Read more at

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