Last fall, with the House unwilling to agree to make permanent the most controversial of the expiring provisions of the PATRIOT ACT, a deal was struck to put a 2 month extension into the Pentagon Budget. With this extension about to expire, and still no agreement from the House to extend the Bush era spying powers, another extension, for a year, has been quietly slipped into the Senate version of the popular Jobs bill unveiled last Thursday.
While the bundling was technically done by Senate Leadership, the Administration’s fingerprints are all over it. In debates last fall, the Justice Dept.and other Administration officials were insistent on getting the Bush powers held over intact.
Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that the Secret Search power had, in the overwhelming number of cases, been used in drug, and not terrorism, investigations, with gambling coming in 2nd.
If the Senate passes this draft with the Patriot provisions left in, the House will be faced with either approving the Civil Liberties grab, or being blamed for blocking the needed jobs programs.