Bush signs Patriot Act extension

December 31, 2005|By ASSSOCIATED PRESS

CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush, unhappy with Congress for not permanently extending the USA Patriot Act, signed a bill yesterday that renews the anti-terrorism law for a few weeks and pushes lawmakers to debate its measures.

The president signed about a dozen other bills, including one funding government agencies and a defense measure that funnels extra money to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf Coast.

Bush is spending this week at his Texas ranch. He plans to return to Washington tomorrow after visiting wounded troops at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Bush is urging lawmakers to permanently extend parts of the Patriot Act set to expire.

"Suffice it to say, our law enforcement community needs this," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. "He's not satisfied with a one-month extension. But we've got to get that in place, and we've got to work with them to get it permanently re-extended."

The Patriot Act extension keeps anti-terrorism laws that were due to expire today in place until Feb. 3. The extension means lawmakers must debate again next month the merits of government anti-terrorism powers that some critics fault for not protecting Americans' civil liberties.

The extension allows the FBI to continue to investigate terrorism cases using powers granted in 2001, including roving wiretaps and the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to terrorism.

Bush and GOP leaders pushed hard for a permanent extension of the expiring provisions but could not overcome a Senate filibuster.

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