The US Senate has rejected attempts to renew controversial provisions of the anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act, set to expire at the end of the month. Senate Republicans were not able to muster the sixty votes needed to cut off debate on the provisions, which would have allowed a straight up and down vote and a likely extension of the provisions for four years. Enacted after the September 11th, 2001 attacks, the Patriot Act increases the federal government's search and surveillance powers.
Democrats and several Republicans in the Senate say the provisions give the government too much access to citizens' private information. The Senate is likely to take the issue up again when it meets again next month. After the vote, a White House spokesman repeated the administration's support for the provisions which it says are needed to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. During debate on the provisions today, one Democratic senator said that on Thursday, he was still not sure how he would vote. But Charles Schumer said after reading a New York Times report this Friday morning alleging that a U.S. intelligence agency was spying on Americans, he decided to vote against renewing the provisions.