The Senate today voted to extend the PATRIOT Act for another year, as requested by the Obama Administration. The vote came without any debate, and by voice vote so that individuals did not have to make their position public.
Perhaps the most galling part of the vote was that not a single privacy provision was added to the bill, despite Congressional Democrats promising such reforms.
Even the Obama Administration seemed to have resigned itself to the privacy provisions, demanding only that they not weaken the president’s powers. In the end however, the Senate’s Democrats backed off entirely and approved the bill exactly as-is.
The bill will now move into the House of Representatives, where the Judiciary Committee has been seeking to remove the “lone wolf” section of the act entirely. In an election year it will be interesting to see if the House Democrats are willing to press hard for civil rights protections against an administration which has insisted they be, at best, seriously limited.