US Patriot Act extended by one month

The US House of Representatives has voted to extend by one month anti-terrorism powers only days before the disputed legislation was due to expire.

    The law grants the authorities sweeping anti-terror powers

    Lawmakers approved the extension on Thursday, a day after their counterparts in the Senate had endorsed a six-month renewal of the Patriot Act.

    The Senate reconvened in the evening, and in a quick vote approved the one-month extension.
      
    The legislation grants the US government sweeping authority for monitoring suspected terrorists and their finances.

    George Bush, the US president, and his Republican allies in Congress had originally insisted on renewing the Patriot Act without time limits.
      
    But concerns about civil liberties among opposition Democrats and some members of the Republican majority forced the White House to accept a temporary renewal.

    Sensitive legislation

    President Bush had wanted an
    extension without time limits 

    With the Patriot Act due to expire on 31 December, both parties claimed their rivals were playing politics with sensitive legislation.

    President Bush issued a statement praising lawmakers in the House for voting to extend the legislation and accused his Democratic opponents of jeopardising the country's national security.

    "The Senate Democratic Leader boasted last week that the Senate Democrats had 'killed the Patriot Act.' Our nation's security must be above partisan politics," Bush said.

    Senate Democratic minority leader Harry Reid has said his fellow party members had blocked a permanent renewal of the law until potential threats to civil liberties could be resolved. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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