Reid offers new legislation to extend several provisions of Patriot Act

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday introduced a new proposal to extend three Patriot Act surveillance authorities that will expire at the end of next week. 

Reid's proposal clashes with legislation House Republicans are expected to approve next week. It also differs from bills introduced by House and Senate Democrats, and could further complicate efforts to reach a compromise.

Reid's bill, S. 1022, would extend the ability of U.S. intelligence authorities to conduct roving wiretaps, gain access to business records and survey "lone-wolf" operators through the end of 2014. The bill is a straight extension of these authorities, all of which expire May 27 under a bill Congress approved back in February.

The House GOP bill, H.R. 1800, would make lone-wolf surveillance permanent and extend the other surveillance techniques through 2017.

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Reid's bill is consistent with those from other Democrats who favor a short-term extension, but is not identical. For example, House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has a bill that would extend until the end of 2013, not 2014, and would also require more government justification for using these authorities.

Conyers's bill is similar to the one proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has also proposed an extension until 2014.

Reid's bill could ultimately be seen as a compromise: one that satisfies Democrats by providing a shorter extension than what Republicans are seeking, but one that also satisfies Republicans by not including new oversight language.

However, many Democrats seem particularly enamored with their proposed extension until 2013, because they want to have the next debate on extension during a non-election year.

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