- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
WASHINGTON - The House passed a five-week extension of the Patriot Act on Thursday and sent it to the Senate as Congress scrambled to prevent expiration of anti-terror law enforcement provisions on Dec. 31.
Approval for the Feb. 3 deadline came on a voice vote in a nearly empty chamber after Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the
House Judiciary Committee, refused to agree to a six-month extension the Senate had cleared several hours earlier.
The shorter extension, Sensenbrenner told reporters, would force swifter Senate action and had the support of the White House and Speaker
Dennis Hastert, D-Ill.
"A six-month extension, in my opinion, would have simply allowed the Senate to duck the issue until the last week in June," Sensenbrenner told reporters.
The issue is whether to adopt a House-Senate agreement to renew 16 provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire at the end of the year, negotiate a new bill or extend the 2001 law further.
President Bush was prepared to call Congress back into session next week if an agreement were not struck on an extension.
"We're happy to agree to a shorter-term extension of the Patriot Act," said Rebecca Kirszner, an aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "The important thing is to strike the right balance between liberty and security."
House passage marked the latest step in a stalemate that first pitted Republicans against Democrats in the Senate, then turned into an intramural GOP dispute.
I guess it's no longer a battle between Dems and Repubs since we even have Repubs jumping ship and making bold moves to block the Patriot Act.