Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Patriot Act

The renewal of the Patriot Act is now in the hands of the Senate:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House voted to renew a modified USA Patriot Act to combat terrorism on Wednesday and sent the bill to the Senate, where opponents pledged a last-ditch fight against provisions they said would curtail individual liberties.

The vote in the House was 251-174, with 44 Democrats joining 207 Republicans. "Renewing the Patriot Act before it expires in December is literally a matter of life and death," said Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla.

The importance of renewing the Patriot Act cannot be stressed enough. While the House has done what it should on its part, it remains to be seen whether the Senate will follow suit. Renewing the Patriot Act requires 60 votes in the Senate, which means there must be some Democratic support.

There are a dozen or so Republicans and Democrats who will have to be swayed in favor of renewal, otherwise the Dems will filibuster. While Senate Majority Leader Frist has a fall back plan of simply extending the law for another year, it would be a much greater success for the Senate to approve the permanent renewal of the Patriot Act.

President Bush had this to say:

The Patriot Act is essential to fighting the war on terror and preventing our enemies from striking America again. In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment."

He is right. Urge your senator to vote for a renewal of the Patriot Act.