USA Patriot Act: House Rejects Extension Provisions
The USA Patriot Act got a big blow as the House of Representatives rejected an extension for three key provisions.
Republicans brought the bill to the floor this week to extend three surveillance tools for less than a year. However, 26 Republicans voted against extending parts of the post-Sept. 11 law.
The resulting vote was 277-148, seven short of what was needed to pass the provisions.
"I am disappointed in the outcome of tonight's vote," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the author of the original act. "We are now under a time crunch. The terrorist threat has not subsided and will not expire, and neither should our national security laws.
Among the three provisions expiring Feb. 28, one allows federal investigators access to a suspect's personal materials including library records with a judge's approval.
Another enables the government, with a court order, to conduct roving wiretaps of suspected terrorists as they change phones or locations.
A third is known as the "lone-wolf" provision that enables authorities to conduct surveillance on foreign terrorism suspects who do not appear to be affiliated with known groups.
Some consider the provisions an over-reach of government. The House GOP initially sought the extension to give lawmakers time to discuss if the law could be made permanent.
The provisions will expire at the end of the month.