WASHINGTON – The Patriot Act is set to be extended for another month while conservative Republicans and the White House work out changes they say would protect people from government intrusion without weakening the war on terror.
A day after
President Bush insisted that Congress renew 16 provisions set to expire Friday, the House was set to extend the act until March 10 to give negotiators more time to come up with a deal. The Senate was expected to follow before the deadline.
“The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military and homeland security,” Bush said Tuesday in his State of the Union speech to Congress. “I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act.”
It would be the second time Congress has extended the law. Originally passed five weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act was due to expire Dec. 31.
Just before leaving for Christmas, Congress extended the law until Feb. 3 because Senate Democrats and four libertarian-leaning Republicans blocked a final vote on a measure negotiated by the White House that would have made most expiring provisions permanent. The Republicans were concerned about excessive police powers.