The suspense is over. After a weeks-long game of brinksmanship, the Senate and House have agreed to extend the sunsetting provisions of PATRIOT--which were scheduled to expire on December 31st--until February 3rd. The President plans on signing the bill.
We'd prefer that these PATRIOT provisions not be extended at all, but this is still a major victory for those who want Congress to add new checks and balances against abuse of the broad PATRIOT surveillance powers. The Administration and the DOJ, despite their best efforts, could not garner enough support for the sham "compromise" bill that would have renewed everything with mostly cosmetic reforms. As Senator Feingold said in a statement this evening, right before the Senate vote: "No one should make the mistake of thinking that a shorter extension will make it possible to jam the unacceptable conference report through the Congress. That bill is dead and cannot be revived."