The USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization is headed to the House after Senators reached an agreement on amendments and passed the measure Thursday afternoon.
The 72-23 vote came after two days of wrangling between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Rand Paul over amendments the Kentucky Republican wanted to propose for the legislation. Reid and Paul ultimately reached a deal allowing votes on two of the freshman Senator’s amendments.
The proposals, including a controversial gun-related amendment, essentially failed when bipartisan majorities voted to table the measures.
The anti-terrorism law expires at midnight Thursday. The reauthorization is expected to easily clear the House, but some of the law’s provisions might temporarily lapse because of a delay in getting President Barack Obama’s signature. Obama is traveling in Europe, and the enrolled reauthorization is expected to be flown to him.
A statement of administration policy released after the Senate vote expressed the White House’s strong support for the reauthorization and urged lawmakers to immediately act to avoid a lapse.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.