If the Patriot Act hadn’t been approved for another year, Sunday would have looked much different.
Sunday could have meant the government was no longer given permission to wiretap the phones of Americans and seize their records and property.
But since the bill was approved by Congressional Democrats earlier this week and signed into law by President Obama on Saturday, this Sunday is just another Sunday for Americans living with the Patriot Act.
To be fair, many Democrats asked for additional protections for the privacy rights of American citizens.
But Republicans said that would detract from the ability of the country’s intelligence agencies to track down terrorists. Lacking a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate to pass the bill with the extra provisions, Democrats left them out.
Democratic Rep. Jane Harman opposed the House’s approval of the extension, citing abuses during the administration of President George W. Bush.
“While I strongly support using the most robust tools possible to go after terrorists, Congress must revise and narrow — not extend — Bush era policies,” Harman said.
Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com had the following to say of the overwhelming support of the law’s extension:
One of the strangest prongs of conventional Beltway wisdom is the lament that there is not enough bipartisanship. The opposite is true: many of the most damaging acts inflicted on the country by Washington are enacted on a fully bipartisan basis — the most destructive political act of this generation, the invasion of Iraq, was fully bipartisan, as were most of the post-9/11 civil liberties abuses and other Bush-era initiatives– and, at least in certain areas, the harmonious joining together of Republicans and Democrats continues unabated.
Most publications and politicians expected Obama to sign the Patriot Act.