May 27, 2011
Capping a week of political bickering and parliamentary delays, the House joined the Senateon Thursday to approve a four-year extension of key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire at midnight.
Because President Barack Obama is traveling in Europe, a White House official said the bill will quickly be signed into law using an autopen, a machine that replicates the president’s signature.
The House voted 250-153 to renew three parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law. Thirty-one House Republicans joined most Democrats in opposing the extension, while 54 Democrats supported it.
Hours earlier, the bill cleared the Senate on a 72-23 vote, with 19 Democrats and four Republicans voting no, mostly over concerns the Patriot Act violates personal privacy and civil liberties.