Elizabeth Gorman reports:
Rushed into law by Congress just weeks after Sept. 11, 2001 three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act granting officials far-reaching surveillance and seizure powers in the name of national security, are due to expire this New Year’s Eve.
Two differing bills passed by the House and Senate judiciary committees in recent weeks will have to be reconciled in Congress, but only when the Senate isn’t backlogged by health care, Democratic aides told ABC News.
With full support from the Obama administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill last month reauthorizing the law that has in recent years sparked much controversy over rights to privacy protected under the Constitution, with some minor tweaks.
But House Democrats in the Judiciary Committee went much further reigning in executive authorities and raising the threshold of proof needed to legally seize Americans’ personal records and conduct wiretaps on their phones. It also slapped on more restrictions, and required more government auditing, and reporting showing how the process could be modified to enhance civil liberties.
Read more on ABC.