Congressional Republicans Moving to Make Anti-Terrorism Powers Permanent

Senate Republicans working with the Bush administration are
pushing a proposal that would make permanent the sweeping
anti-terrorism powers of the controversial Patriot Act passed after
9/11 to temporarily assist the government in the war on

The proposal, by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman

Orrin Hatch
(R-UT), would repeal the ?sunset? provision
governing many of the most controversial new surveillance powers
authorized by the act, reports Eric Lichtblau for Information
. Those powers were set to expire in 2005, unless
reauthorized by Congress.

Congressional moderates and civil libertarians, who had agreed
to support the act after the terrorist attacks only if those
increased surveillance powers were made temporary, are expected to
challenge Hatch?s proposal. Senate Minority Leader

Tom Daschle
said he ?would be very strongly opposed to any

Proponents of the repeal are reportedly planning to attach their
proposal as an amendment to a piece of controversial legislation
that would free federal agents to seek surveillance warrants
without showing that their suspects are affiliated with a terrorist
group. That measure, sponsored by Senators

Jon Kyl
(R-AZ) and

Charles Schumer
(D-NY) has passed the Senate Judiciary
Committee and is expected to move to the Senate floor for a full
vote within a week.

But Democrats opposed to the Kyl-Schurmer bill are likely to
attach amendments watering down the measure, and Republicans will
take that opportunity to attach the repeal provision. ?We support
this bill as it is and that?s how we want to see it passed,? said
an aide to Senator Hatch, who wished to remain anonymous. ?If the
Democrats want to amend the bill, then we will offer an equal
number of amendments to improve the bill as well. We hope the
Democrats will stop holding this bill up.?

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