House of Representatives
The US House of Representatives has agreed to extend some of surveillance powers granted by the 2001 Patriot Act after the 9/11 attacks. In a 275-144 vote, the chamber voted to extend until December provisions on wiretaps, access to business records and surveillance of terror suspects. The White House backed the bill, but would have favoured a longer extension. The bill failed a vote last week, when it was brought to the floor under rules requiring a two-thirds majority. The matter now goes to the Senate for its consideration. The provisions are set to expire on 28 February.
WASHINGTON – The Senate has voted to extend roving wiretap authority and other provisions of anti-terrorism law for 90 days, giving lawmakers more time to discuss the future of the law enforcement tools that some consider an infringement on civil liberties. The Senate vote to extend three terrorism-fighting tools for three months comes a day after the House approved an extension until Dec. 8. The two chambers must now agree on a common time period before the three USA Patriot Act-related provisions expire on Feb. 28. In addition to roving wiretaps for multiple electronic devices, the provisions deal with court-approved access to business records and surveillance of non-U.S. “lone wolf” suspects without known ties to terrorist groups. Senate Democrats are working on a multi-year extension plan that tightens oversight of the measures.