Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate voted Thursday to pass a four-year extension of several provisions of the controversial PATRIOT Act.
POLITICO reported that President Barack Obama, unable to sign the extension into law in person while traveling in Europe, signed the bill into law using an autopen — a machine that replicates the President’s signature.
The bill passed the Senate 72-23, with four Republicans and 19 Democrats voting “no.” It passed in the House 250-153, with 31 Republicans voting “no” along with a majority of Democrats. Fifty-four Democrats supported the bill in the House.
“Freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a PATRIOT Act opponent who had used procedural tactics to delay a final vote on the bill for much of the week, eventually worked out a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to get votes on two of his amendments — but not before Reid accused the libertarian, Tea-Party darling of ‘political grandstanding’ and trying to protect terrorists,” POLITICO reported. Both of Paul’s amendments were defeated.
“You don’t have to give up your liberty to catch criminals. You can catch criminals and terrorists and protect your liberty at the same time,” Paul said in a statement made on the Senate floor Thursday. “There is a balancing act that what we did in our hysteria after 9/11 was we didn’t do any kind of balancing act.”