Senate rejects short-term extension of the USA PATRIOT Act

Friday, December 16, 2005

The US Senate failed to renew certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act which are due to expire at the end of the year. A vote to end the filibuster which has stalled the bill gained only 52 votes, failing to advance the bill.

A majority of Democrats and some Republicans have resorted to a filibuster, citing concerns that the bill under consideration which permits government access to confidential personal data failed to safeguard privacy and protect innocent citizens from government scrutiny. Four Republicans joined the Democrats in voting against the bill, while 2 Democrats voted in favor of ending the filibuster.

"That decision is irresponsible and it endangers the lives of our citizens. The senators who are filibustering must stop their delaying tactics and the Senate must reauthorize the Patriot Act," said President George W. Bush of the senate vote.

The measure to extend some of the PATRIOT Act measures has already passed in the House of Representatives. The Act was originally passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, and gives the government secret access to private information such as library and medical records, as well as roving wiretaps which may apply to multiple phone numbers.