The U.S. Senate has agreed to extend the Patriot Act for six months to allow lawmakers more time to debate controversial portions of the bill regarding civil liberties. The Senate approved the measure in a voice vote late Wednesday night. The House of Representatives must now approve the law before it goes to President Bush for his signature, but it is unclear when the House will act on it. Earlier Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 52 senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, calling for an extension of provisions in the act for three months. Mr. Frist and President Bush both rejected that time frame. Initially passed after the September 11th (2001) attacks, the Patriot Act expanded the government's search and surveillance powers. It is set to expire on December 31st unless Congress renews it or extends its provisions.