With the U.S.A. Patriot Act set to expire at the end of 2005, the Senate decided on December 21 to extend the Act for six months so the House and Senate could make revisions to the Act next year. The House voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act for four years before it adjourned for the holidays the prior week.
In a statement, President Bush said he appreciated “the Senate for working to keep the existing Patriot Act in law through next July, despite boasts last week by the Democratic leader that he had blocked the Act.”
Following Senate passage of the six-month extension, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) said: “By unanimously agreeing to a six-month extension, the Senate endorsed the Patriot Act as an effective tool to fight terrorism–both now and in the future. It is clear that there is broad bipartisan support that the Patriot Act never should expire. This is a win for America’s safety and security, and I’m pleased the Senate was able to rise above the partisan politics being played by the minority to do the right thing. We should build on this effort to strengthen these anti-terrorism tools, safeguard our civil liberties and permanently extend the remaining provisions.”