Well, this was expected, but unfortunate. Despite a few key Senators protesting the extension of the various controversial surveillance rules in the PATRIOT Act (which the government apparently has interpreted ridiculously broadly in secret), the Congressional leadership brokered some deals to get those putting up roadblocks to back down, and then quickly approved extending those provisions for four more years, with no changes, no greater oversight, no guarantee that we'll know how they're used or abused. 23 Senators stood up for the public and voted no. Five did not vote. You can see the full roll call here. A few hours after that, the House (where no one was really debating this) followed suit, by a vote of 250 - 153. You can see the full roll call for the House as well. This whole thing was a travesty from the start. These provisions are questionable, and no serious debate was ever had about them, despite promises from Congress. The fear mongering by those in support of pushing through this extremely long and totally unnecessary extension was misleading in the extreme. But, it worked. We'll extend these provisions, which will undoubtedly be abused and used for purposes that have nothing to do with stopping terrorism.
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