House sends Patriot Act to Obama


The House on Thursday morning approved a three-month extension of three Patriot Act surveillance authorities, sending the bill to the White House for approval.


The White House is expected to sign the bill into law before the government's authority to access business records, conduct roving wiretaps and monitor individual terrorists expires on Feb. 28.

This is the second House vote in four days on a Patriot Act bill. 

On Monday, the House approved an extension until Dec. 8, but the Senate amended it to an extension through May 27. The House then agreed to that shorter extension.


The final 279-143 House vote was similar to the 275-144 vote on Monday. In both votes, more than 60 Democrats supported the measure, and more than two dozen Republicans opposed it.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said on Thursday that he supports a three-year extension, which the White House wants, along with many Senate Democrats.

But other Democrats on Thursday continued to oppose the bill, arguing that the GOP is pushing for an extension without any hearings to discuss what changes might be made, or what abuses might be happening under the current law. House Financial Services Committee ranking member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he does not oppose extension, but opposes an extension unchanged.

Others pushed generally for more oversight of the surveillance programs, and Republicans again said they would hold oversight hearings between now and the end of May.

"We're gonna do it, we're gonna get it done, but we need to have the extra time that was given to us by the Senate," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.