House approves renewal of the Patriot Act

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to reauthorize with small revisions several amendments to the USA Patriot Act, clearing the way for the Patriot Act to be re-signed into law by President Bush.

The bill, which passed the House with a vote of 280-138, will be sent to President Bush this week. Major provisions of the Patriot Act were approved earlier this year by both the House and the Senate. This bill offered slight revisions to past amendments to the overall act. The act itself was set to expire on March 16.

Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R - Wisconsin), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the Senate bill into the house for consideration and urged his colleagues to vote for its passage under a special suspension of the rules.

Sensenbrenner highlighted three revisions in arguing for the bill's passage. One change established a person's right to challenge legally any orders given to him or her under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill also included multiple provisions allowing that anyone who is ordered by the FBI under a number of acts to produce evidence or testimony does not have to reveal the name of anyone from whom he or she sought legal advice. The amendment also contains a section that amends the original act to specify that libraries are not considered wire or electronic communication service providers.

The Senate passed the same measure last week by a vote of 89-10.