GOP seeks six-year extension of Patriot Act surveillance

The bill is expected to move in the next few weeks because the three surveillance authorities expire May 27. Congress in February extended the three authorities for a short time in order to allow for congressional hearings on the Patriot Act.

The Judiciary Committee's Homeland Security subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the Patriot Act and held two other hearings in March. In those hearings, Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the surveillance authorities need to be extended because they are critical tools in the fight against terrorism.

While some Democrats are expected to reject the need for extension, the debate and a likely vote is expected just weeks after U.S. forces found and killed Osama bin Laden, which will likely make it more difficult to argue against the effectiveness of such intelligence-gathering techniques.

The bill, H.R. 1800, was introduced in an abbreviated House session on Friday by Smith and Reps. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.). While the bill does not include a new expiration date, House staffers said the date that will be included is Dec. 31, 2017.