Senate clears hurdle on Patriot Act, but expiration looms at midnight

Senate leadership says allowing the Patriot Act to lapse would cause a major disruption to the ability of law enforcement officials to fight terrorism and has signaled a deal might be on the horizon.

“We should be relieved and reassured to know they won’t expire this week," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from the Senate floor Thursday.

Reid said Wednesday that there could be additional votes on amendments to the bill. Reid had indicated on Tuesday he would allow just one amendment to the Patriot Act reauthorization. 

Paul, who opposes the Patriot Act, had prepared 11 amendments to the bill and has tried to slow down the legislation through Senate rules.

"We are working on a final agreement; a lot of progress has been made in that regard, and there are likely to be more roll call votes tomorrow on amendments related to the Patriot Act," Reid said Wednesday night.

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