The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected a proposal to extend an existing government surveillance program set to expire at the end of the week.
Wednesday's vote is a victory for President Bush, who vowed not to approve another extension for the law, which governs a program for intercepting communications between American citizens and terror suspects abroad.
Mr. Bush has urged the House to quickly approve a version of the law passed by the Senate Tuesday, saying the security of American citizens is at risk.
But House Democrats oppose a provision in the Senate bill that grants legal immunity to telecommunication companies that assisted the government in its wiretapping efforts.
Some 40 lawsuits have been filed against phone companies for allegedly violating privacy rights.