Reauthorization of Patriot Act nears as Senate ends filibuster

NATION DIGEST

March 01, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- Congress moved yesterday toward reauthorizing expiring provisions of the Patriot Act as the Senate voted to end a two-month filibuster by Democrats and dissident Republicans who said the bill runs roughshod over civil liberties.

The Senate is expected to adopt today a White House-approved compromise that would reauthorize six provisions of the anti-terrorism law, which originally was set to expire at the end of last year.

Since Jan. 1, Congress has acted twice to extend the current version of the bill, preventing those provisions from expiring. Without further congressional action, they would expire March 10.

The Senate is expected to vote nearly unanimously for the compromise, which Republicans and Democrats say contains important improvements on the original Patriot Act.

That legislation, which gives law enforcement and intelligence agencies greater flexibility in tracking terrorist suspects, was passed less than two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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