The US House passed a bill today, HR 514, to extend 3 provisions of the Patriot Act which were set to expire at the end of the month to now expire on December 8th, 2011. The provisions that the house voted to extend through the end of the year relate to roving wiretaps, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and access to business records. The bill was brought to the House floor to a vote today only needing a simple majority to pass (218 votes), after the bill failed last Tuesday when the house needed a super majortiy (290 votes) to pass the bill, and only recieved 277. The vote count today was 275-144 with 14 Representatives not voting. The yay votes were 210 Republicans and 65 Democrats. They nay votes were 27 Republicans and 117 Democrats.
I find it funny that this bill failed to pass with a super majority on Tuesday (February 8th), and less than a week later it was brought to the floor again for a second vote where it only needed a simple majoirity to pass. It's funny how fast Congress can work to pass a bill when it supports special interests and bureaucracy. Every legislative session we hear of Representatives introducing bills that might actually be beneficial and meaningful to the public, but never make it out of committe. However, whenever bills that violate multiple amendments of the Bill of Rights are introduced, bureaucratic representatives are able to bring them to the floor for a vote with minimal debate and lack of committee hearings. This is just another example of how little members of Congress listen to their constituents concerns, or care about their liberties. Considering the large majority of Republicans voted for the extension of the Patriot Act provisions that violate the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th amendments of the Bill of rights, I do not want to hear the Republican party as a whole talk about how they are the "true defenders" of the Constitution when campaigning for re-election in 2012!
Check out the following source to see how your Congress-person voted for the Patriot Act Extension (HR 514).