Frist, Bush push for Patriot Act reauthorization in Senate

[JURIST] After the US House voted to reauthorize [JURIST report] the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive] Wednesday, Senate Republican leaders are working to prevent the renewal from being blocked by a bipartisan group of senators that is concerned that the reauthorization measure gives too much power to the government [Senate letter, PDF] without adequate safeguards. The reauthorization bill [summary, conference report, PDF] could face a filibuster in the Senate and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is planning to hold a test vote Friday. The proposed reauthorization compromise [JURIST report] would prevent most Patriot Act provisions from expiring at the end of this year, but some senators are calling for extra safeguards. Opponents have suggested that a three-month extension should be granted to let Congress add civil liberties protections, such as making it more difficult for the FBI to use roving wiretaps. Frist has said that he opposes a short-term extension [press release] and is calling for bipartisan support for the legislation. President Bush also urged the Senate to follow the House [press release] in passing the reauthorization bill, arguing that the Patriot Act is an essential tool in the fight against terrorism. AP has more.

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