House passes Patriot Act rule, clears way for passage

Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) said Republicans were practicing “unique trickery” by calling the bill back for a second vote.

“We have a right to have a voice and that voice has already been expressed,” said Lee. “What more needs to be said?”

Some Democrats said they would have proposed an amendment that extended the law for only 60 days. But in many ways the floor discussion mirrored the debate earlier in the week.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) called the Patriot Act a “destructive undermining of constitutional principals and the rights of people to be secure in their homes.”

But Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) countered that if the law were unconstitutional, the courts would have struck it down by now. He also accused Kucinich of “making up arguments.”

Some Democrats argued that Republicans should have held hearings on the Patriot Act before rushing through an extension. But Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Democrats did not require a hearing when they passed an extension last year, and pledging to push for committee hearings later this year.

The House could take up the Patriot Act extension bill as early as Friday. The Senate is expected to take up the Patriot Act next week, but is looking at bills that would extend the three surveillance authorities for at least three years.

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