House Votes to Extend Patriot Act

Last week, a bill to extend the Patriot Act under expedited rules was defeated in the House, because a supermajority was required for passage, and some of the new Tea Party-backed Republicans were unwilling to vote for it, citing their distrust of federal power and concerns for civil liberties.

It was a surprising defeat for the House GOP leadership, but they recovered and resubmitted the Patriot Act extension under regular rules.  Tonight the extension passed, 275-144.  27 Republicans voted against passage during this second vote.

The key provisions covered by the extension included allowing the FBI to conduct “roving” wiretaps across multiple phones, seizing the personal records of a suspected terrorist, and tracking suspected “lone wolf” terrorists who were not directly linked to an extremist group.

The bill moves on to the Senate, which must vote on the extension before these provisions of the Patriot Act expire at the end of February.