House Dems oppose Patriot Act despite earlier vote, easy Senate passage

House Rules Committee Ranking Member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Rules Member Jared Polis (D-Colo.) reiterated many of their arguments against the bill from Monday. Both said hearings should be held to see how the surveillance authorities have been used before extending them further.

Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) argued there was little time for hearings so far this year. But, he did pledge to hold hearings in the months ahead, which would inform a decision later this year on whether to extend them again.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) took to the floor to reiterate that the Patriot Act is an assault on the Constitution. But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said Democrats are using the debate on three surveillance authorities to attack other elements of the Patriot Act.

The extension allows the government to continue to access business records, conduct roving wiretaps and monitor individual terrorists until May 27. With the rule passed, debate and vote on the Patriot Act extension is expected later Wednesday or Thursday.

-- This story was updated at 1:35 p.m.