House Extends Patriot Act
On the latest try, Republicans passed a short-term extension of the surveillance program
Last week, House opposition temporarily delayed the extension of the Bush-era Patriot Act after a surprising number of Republicans, including several newly elected Tea Party candidates, voted nay. In that vote, reauthorization would have required a two-thirds majority under a "special rule." This time, the Republicans were able to get the bill passed with a simple majority (the vote was 275-144) that, if passed in the Senate, will extend the surveillance program's provisions through Dec. 8th.
How did the House leaders convince legislators to pass the bill? National Journal's Chris Strohm notes that "Republicans corralled enough votes by promising their members that time will be allotted over the next 10 months to consider making changes to the provisions." Even though the majority of Republicans voted for the bill, "the debate did not break down entirely along partisan lines," observed Charlie Savage at the New York Times.
117 Democrats and 27 Republicans (one more than last week) voted against the bill. Congress has until February 28th to extend the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act.