On Tuesday, Congress renewed a number of controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act, CNN reports.
The Patriot Act was passed shortly after 9/11 as a tool in President Bush’s war on terror, and it relates to the search and surveillance authority granted to the government.
The renewal was sent to President Bush for his signature after the House of Representatives approved it by a vote of 280 to 138, according to CNN.
Last week, the Senate approved the measure by a vote of 89 to 10, CNN reports, and it renews 16 provisions in the act that were set to expire on March 10.
“At last the Patriot Act will be reauthorized,” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said after the Senate approved the renewal. “It will make America more secure, and that’s the bottom line. Law enforcement officials and the intelligence community will not have to guess what the law will be. They will have the tools to fight terrorism.”
The House last year passed another version of the bill renewing the act, but a Senate filibuster blocked the measure last December, according to CNN.
Critics are concerned that the renewal grants the executive branch too much power.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) voted against the act in 2001 and he said he was “even more opposed” to its renewal, according to CNN.
“I rise in strong opposition to this legislation because it offers only a superficial reform that will have little if any impact on safeguarding our civil liberties,” Kucinich said, according to his website.
The most controversial provisions of the act include the “roving wiretap” and “sneak and peek” parts, which enable the government to tap all of a suspect’s phones and allows federal investigators to obtain records and information from libraries, businesses and medical institutions without court approval, according to CNN.
For related news coverage, read Senate Votes to Add Patriot Act Safeguards.
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