Main | Friday, February 26, 2010

Congress Renews Patriot Act

It might seem impossible, but Congress has renewed the Patriot Act for another year. In the Senate, important privacy protections failed to be included due to the loss of the Democratic supermajority.
Key provisions of the nation’s primary counterterrorism law would be extended for a year under a bill passed by the House last night after Democrats retreated from adding privacy protections. The House voted, 315 to 97, to extend the Patriot Act, sending the bill to President Obama. Without the bill, the provisions would expire Sunday. The Senate approved the extension Wednesday. The privacy protections were cast aside when Senate Democrats lacked the necessary 60-vote supermajority to pass them. Some in Congress had sought to increase restrictions and scrutiny on the government’s authority to spy on Americans and seize their records. The Democratic retreat is a political victory for Republicans and a major disappointment for Democrats and their allies who believe the Patriot Act fails to protect privacy and gives the government too much authority to spy on Americans and seize their property.

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