Patriot Act renewal passes House

Ed Morrissey

The House had another opportunity for progressives to do a little piñata-beating on a bill last night — but curiously, it passed with little note or controversy. The extension of the Patriot Act sailed through the lower chamber with almost no one noticing, following a similarly quiet passage out of the Senate earlier in the week:

The House of Representatives reauthorized the Patriot Act for one year Thursday.

The vote was 315-97 .

Many liberals in the House opposed the controversial act, saying it tramps Constitutional protections and civil liberties.

During George Bush’s term in office, every renewal the Patriot Act became grand theater, with newspapers inveighing against the overreach of Bush and the danger to American liberty in the bill, which wasn’t an entirely vacuous argument. Protesters would fill streets, and reporters would demand positions from various members of Congress. So what happened this year?

First, Barack Obama took most of the wind out of the critics’ sails when he voted to extend the Patriot Act in the summer of 2008, reversing a pledge he had made just a few months earlier.

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