In an act of uncharacteristic defiance of President Obama, the House Judiciary Committee voted today 16-10 to remove the “lone wolf” section of the USA PATRIOT Act.
The Justice Department had opposed the move, though it insists that it has never once used the provision. It has been criticized considerably for granting broad surveillance power against people with no ties to terror groups or even criminal activity.
The Obama Administration has argued that all three expiring provisions of the act needed to be extended, and said they were only willing to consider revisions to allow limited civil rights protections.
Today’s vote suggests they may face an uphill battle in getting their wish, as while the Republicans on the committee opposed the provision’s removal, every single member of Obama’s own party voted against him.