House prepares to extend work week to deal with Patriot Act

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Wednesday warned House members that they should be prepared to vote Friday on a bill to extend expiring Patriot Act surveillance authorities.

The House was not planning on any Friday votes as of late last week.

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Cantor said on the House floor that the Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote on a Patriot Act bill Thursday, and that this would initiate 30 hours of post-cloture debate. If all that time were used, the Senate would vote on the bill Friday, and the House would have to follow suit.

"It is likely that the House will be in session and voting past 3 p.m. tomorrow," Cantor said, referring to pending work on the National Defense Authorization Act. "Further, it is possible that the House could also be in session and voting on Friday."

Cantor said he would continue to update members on the status of the effort in the Senate, but in the meantime asked members to make "contingency travel plans" for Thursday and Friday.

"I thank members for their patience, and I no doubt share in their unspoken thoughts about the other body," he concluded, to laughter from some members.

The House was scheduled to leave Thursday to begin its Memorial Day recess. Several provisions in the Patriot Act expire Thursday at midnight.

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