Senate Votes To Reauthorize PATRIOT Act, But Only For Three Months
Last night, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, but they did so in a manner that the issue is going to come back in the very near future:
The Senate on Tuesday voted 86-12 Tuesday to extend the Patriot Act for three months.
The vote came one day after the House passed legislation extending the Patriot Act until Dec. 2011.
Due to an amendment tacked on to the House bill by Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) earlier Tuesday the Senate version of the bill only extends the Patriot Act until May 27, 2011.
The bill is H.R. 514, which would let the government access business records, conduct roving wiretaps, and monitor individual terrorists until Dec. 8 of this year.
Only two Republicans — Rand Paul and Mike Lee — joined ten Democrats in voting against the bill, and Paul’s floor speech was as impassioned as his previous statements about the act:
The bill now goes back to the House to reconcile the difference in expiration dates for the re-authorization. Presumably, the House will agree to the Senate’s modification and the bill will go to the President. After that, maybe we can finally have the kind of debate about the PATRIOT Act that we never had in the beginning.
This act was a mistake in the heat of the moment. It is past time it were rectified, and repealed, along with the NSLs not currently expiring.
One problem with undeclared wars is there is no finite end point at which we naturally reassess the legislative excess that pass in the heat of the moment when the country is rallying for war.