The House voted late on Tuesday night against extending three measures of the controversial 2001 Patriot Act past Dec. 8 of this year. Despite Republicans' best efforts to pass the bill under an expedited procedure requiring a two-thirds majority, the vote fell seven short of the Republican's goal.
Twenty-six Republican Congressmen, eight of them newly elected in the midterm surge, bucked their party's leadership to vote against the measure. The Washington Post notes that the vote "served as the first small uprising of the party's tea party bloc."
The Post's Stephen Stromberg: "These 26 Tea Partyers' emphasis on constraining government's authority now can't be as easily dismissed as a cynical electoral ploy. They extended their suspicion of government beyond federal activity in the economy and health care."
Among those who voted against the bill was Rep. Ron Paul, who has long opposed the Patriot Act on libertarian grounds. His son, Sen. Rand Paul, has also voiced reservations about the Act.
The failed bill was seen as a stop-gap to future Senate legislation that would extend the act through 2013. The White House has said it "would strongly prefer" an extension to 2013 because it "provides the necessary certainty and predictability that our nation's intelligence and law enforcement agencies require."
"The terrorist threat has not subsided and will not expire, and neither should our national security laws," said
Senator Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the former Judiciary Committee chairman who authored the 2001 Patriot Act,
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union was happy that the provisions were defeated. ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said she was "glad to see there is bipartisan opposition to the Patriot Act 10 years later."
Patriot Act: The 3 Provisions the House Failed to Extend [AOL]
Rank-and-file reject Patriot Act
House rejects extensions of Patriot Act provisions [AP]
This post has been updated with additional information.
Is the Tea Party cynical, after all?