BREAKING NEWS ~ House votes to reauthorize Patriot Act

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US House has voted 251-174 to renew provisions of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive] that were set to expire at the end of this year. The reauthorization bill [summary, conference report, PDF] now goes before the Senate, where the legislation could face a filibuster. The reauthorization compromise [JURIST report] would modify but make permanent most of 16 Patriot Act provisions set to expire, but some senators want to include additional safeguards in the bill. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has talked with White House officials about extending the current legislation for one year if the reauthorization legislation is indeed filibustered. AP has more.

3:16 PM ET - US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales released a statement [text] Wednesday afternoon commending the House vote to renew sections of the Patriot Act and urging the Senate to do the same. An op-ed [text] from Gonzales also appeared in Wednesday's Washington Post, in which Gonzales presses for the Patriot Act's reauthorization, saying that the legislation is necessary to provide law enforcement with the necessary tools to fight terrorists.

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