Senate returns to Patriot Act extension next week

But the Senate is known to be split on how to proceed with a longer extension. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) earlier this year proposed a straight extension, which the Obama administration supports. And Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) prefers a permanent extension.

While Senate Democrats seem eager to move a longer Patriot Act extension, the House might take a slower road. House Democrats hotly opposed any extension until thorough hearings are held, and Republicans promised to hold hearings during the three-month extension.

The surveillance authorities expire Feb. 28, and the extension approved by the House and Senate would extend that until May 27.

As of Friday morning, President Obama had not signed the extension, but is expected to, possibly over the weekend.