The House of Representatives passed an extension of three PATRIOT Act provisions yesterday by a vote of 275 to 144. The roll call shows that Republicans Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05) voted for the bill, as did all but 27 members of their caucus. Leonard Boswell (IA-03) was among 65 Democrats voting for the extensions, while Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) voted with the majority of the Democratic caucus against the bill.
Iowa’s representatives voted the same way last week when a similar measure failed to win the two-thirds majority needed for passage under special House rules.
Open Congress summarized the bill as follows:
Extends three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that are set to expire on February, 28, 2011. They include the authority for “roving” wiretaps that allows the government to monitor computers that may occasionally be used by suspected terrorists, the “tangible records provision” that requires banks, telecoms and libraries to hand over any customer information the government requests without informing the customer, and the “lone wolf” provision allowing the government to track international terrorist groups. These would be extended straight up — i.e. no reforms — and would expire again under the bill on December 8, 2011.
According to the Washington Post, senators “are debating three competing proposals that would either permanently extend the [PATRIOT Act] provisions or extend them through 2013.”
UPDATE: The U.S. Senate approved a three-month extension for controversial PATRIOT Act provisions on February 15 by a vote of 86 to 12. Senator Chuck Grassley voted yes, as did all but two of his Republican colleagues. Senator Tom Harkin was among ten members of the Democratic caucus to vote no (roll call). Harkin’s office did not issue a statement on this vote and did not respond to my request for comment, so I don’t know whether he is against all efforts to extend those controversial PATRIOT Act provisions, or whether he would support Senator Pat Leahy’s bill to extend the provisions through 2013with “additional safeguards to the act which would provide for increased oversight of U.S. Intelligence gathering tools.” Grassley has introduced a rival Senate bill that would permanently extend the government surveillance powers.