Forty-Four Senators Leading Filibuster to Block Renewal of Patriot Act

December 19, 2005

Source: The New York Times

On December 19, 2005 The New York Times reported, "When Congress passed the antiterrorism bill known as the USA Patriot Act in the fall of 2001, greatly expanding the government's investigative powers, a single senator, Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, voted against it. With the nation reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks, opposing the bill seemed an act of political suicide, especially for a Democrat. Today, more than 40 Democrats and four Republicans stand with Mr. Feingold as he helps lead a filibuster blocking the act's renewal. They are betting that the politics of terrorism have shifted from fear of another attack to wariness of 'Big Brother' intrusions on personal privacy... Polls suggest that the public is supportive of the act but skeptical. President Bush's admission on Saturday that he had authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans may have deepened that skepticism... The act's 16 major provisions are set to expire at the end of the month, and in his radio address on Saturday, Mr. Bush warned that the Senate action 'endangers the lives of our citizens.' He added, 'In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment.'"