Patriot Act Renewal Passes by Two Votes
Posted on Mar 7, 2006
Washington Post: WASHINGTON—The House renewed the USA Patriot Act in a cliffhanger vote Tuesday night, extending a centerpiece of the war on terrorism at President Bush’s urging after months of political combat over the balance between privacy rights and the pursuit of potential terrorists.
Bush, forced by filibuster to accept new curbs on law enforcement investigations, is expected to sign the legislation before 16 provisions of the 2001 law expire on Friday.
The vote was 280-138, just two more than needed under special rules that required a two-thirds majority. The close vote caught senior Republican aides in both chambers by surprise. Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., the sponsor of the new civil liberties protections, worked the House floor as representatives cast their votes.
With the nation’s attention trained squarely on the Dubai Ports fiasco (not that it’s an unimportant issue), Congress has passed the most sweeping abridgement of American freedoms in a generation—with barely a peep from the public.