Patriot Act Set for 4-Year Extension

Reid, McConnell agree to renew domestic surveillance measures
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Suggested by stephinrazin
Posted May 20, 2011 5:00 AM CDT
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, right,, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. walk outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – With the Patriot Act's three central provisions set to expire in a week, Congressional leaders John Boehner, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell struck a deal to extend the law for four more years, Politico reports. Both chambers must pass the plan before it becomes law. The sections set to expire currently allow the US to run roving wiretaps, track “lone wolf” terror suspects, and get court-approved access to business records relevant to terrorist investigations.

The Senate is set to vote on the matter Monday, and the pressure is on to keep the law alive: It expires next Friday, and the House is only in session until Thursday. Renewing the act hasn’t been easy for Republicans, who have faced opposition from both libertarian-minded conservatives and liberal Democrats. To wit, the AP calls support for the extension "unclear," and notes that Sen. Patrick Leahy wanted tighter restrictions on the government's power and may seek to amend it. In the House, some members of the freshman class elected on promises of making government smaller are skeptical. "I still have some concerns, and at this point I'm leaning against (voting for) it," said Maryland Rep. Andy Harris. (Read more John Boehner stories.)

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