Dem on short-term Patriot Act: 'I don't think that's going to fly'

Dem on short-term Patriot Act: 'I don't think that's going to fly'
© Greg Nash

The Senate is likely to hit a brick wall if it tries to temporarily renew central portions of the Patriot Act, according to one top Democratic lawmaker.

“I think it’s a very big question mark about whether there’d be the votes in the House for any extension beyond that which is necessary to do an immediate fix,” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Jan. 6 panel releases contempt report on Trump DOJ official ahead of censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday.

“There are lots of people in the House who are prepared just to have the sections expire.”

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“If it’s an effort to kick the can down the road, I don’t think that’s going to fly in the House,” he added during a breakfast briefing sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor

The opposition in the House to a short-term fix increases the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who opposes legislation to renew the law and reform the National Security Agency, which sailed through the House in a 338-88 vote last week. McConnell has been unable to craft legislation of his own that has a clear path to the chamber floor.

This week, he is expected to bring up legislation to renew the existing law without change for two months in order to give lawmakers more time to hammer out a deal. He is also likely to bring up the reform bill, called the USA Freedom Act.

It’s unclear whether either piece of legislation has the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

Schiff maintained that the House might be willing to support legislation to delay the Patriot Act’s June 1 deadline for a few days to overcome procedural hurdles.

But beyond that, he said, it's most likely the reform bill or nothing.

“If not, then the next most likely scenario I think is that the authorities expire until something is agreed upon," he said. 

The White House has also opposed a short-term extension of the law and has instead put its support behind the USA Freedom Act.