Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Blog

After last week’s stunning House vote rejecting the extension of key Patriot Act provisions, this week both the House and Senate passed extensions of those provisions. Those provisions include the “roving wiretap” provision, the “libraries provision,” and the “lone wolf” provision. The House sent the bill introduced by James Sensebrenner (R-WI) to the Senate by a vote of 275 to 144, granting a nine month extension to those provisions. 27 Republicans voted against the extension, including Arab American freshmen members of Congress, Justin Amash (R-MI) and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Congressman Amash released a statement following the vote stating that, “[l]ike many Republicans and Democrats concerned with protecting civil liberties, I have serious reservations about the USA PATRIOT Act provisions up for renewal… The breath of the provisions raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns in my mind, and I cannot support them as currently written.”

Yesterday evening, the Senate easily passed a three month extension of the above-mentioned provisions and will send that bill back to the House. The bill was approved by an 86-12 vote. 10 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted against the extension, citing privacy concerns.  

The Patriot Act was signed into law shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The Act significantly infringes upon the civil liberties of all Americans and greatly expands the surveillance powers of the government.