NYT reported House and Senate negotiators reached agreement today on reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act
Very good news., the sweeping anti-terrorism measure that granted the federal government new powers after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a Republican Senate leader said. The accord was reached after arduous negotiations about two of the law's most controversial provisions: involving the government's access to library and business records and the use of roving wiretaps, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in announcing the deal.
Under the accord, those retooled provisions would be extended for four years, Mr. Specter said. The House had wanted them extended for 10 years. In negotiations, there was a move to extend them to seven years, but Mr. Specter said the four-year arrangement was much better, because a seven-year extension would have called for a new debate in a presidential election year.
I dont see a problem doing it during a presidential election year; it might make for some interesting debate, but at least we have them for four more years, and the rest is permanent. I wish they had made the roving wiretaps permanent.Fourteen other, less controversial sections of the law will be extended permanently, assuming final passage of the agreement just announced. Mr. Specter said he was confident there were enough votes in the Senate to avoid a legislative stall, or filibuster, and enough votes to defeat a filibuster if one comes, even though vigorous opposition was voiced immediately after Mr. Specter announced the agreement.