(But POTUS said repeatedly that he'd veto such a bill.....we'll see if it
passes the Congress what he'll do......rf)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10562008/

Deal reached to extend Patriot Act
Agreement would reauthorize law for 6 months to negotiate safeguards
BREAKING NEWS
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:38 p.m. ET Dec. 21, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Senate neared passage of a six-month extension of the USA
Patriot Act Wednesday night, hoping to avoid the expiration of law
enforcement powers deemed vital to the war on terror.

It is unclear when the House would act on the bill.

The agreement capped several days of backroom negotiation conducted against
the backdrop of presidential attacks on critics of the legislation. The
Patriot Act provisions will expire on Dec. 31 if the House and Senate do not
act.

The extension gives critics ‹ who successfully filibustered a House-Senate
compromise that would have made most of the law permanent ‹ more time to
seek civil liberty safeguards in the law. Democrats and their allies had
originally asked for a three-month extension, and the Senate¹s Republican
majority had offered a one-year extension. The final deal split the
difference.

³For a lot of reasons, it made the most sense, given that there are
significant differences that remain,² said GOP Sen. John Sununu of New
Hampshire, one of a small group of Republicans who joined with Senate
Democrats to filibuster a House-Senate compromise.

³I think this is a reasonable conclusion,² said Sen. Patrick Leahy of
Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill¹s critics gained momentum Wednesday when they released a letter
crafted by Sununu and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., showing they had 52
senators agreeing to support a three-month extension.

³This is the right thing to do for the country,² Schumer said after the deal
had been announced. ³To let the Patriot Act lapse would have been a
dereliction of duty.²

President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Republican
congressional leaders have lobbied fiercely to get the House-Senate
compromise passed, and issued dire warnings of what would happen if the
Patriot Act expires.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10562008/



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