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PATRIOT Act extension fails procedural vote, expected to return

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A plan that would have seen the House of Representatives extend controversial provisions of the PATRIOTAct with little debate failed Tuesday night, as a group of Republicans joined a majority of Democrats in voting no.

The House voted 277 to 148 for the PATRIOT Act extension — 23 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass it under a procedure that allows bills that aren’t controversial to pass quickly.

But it appears the bill was controversial enough to convince some two dozen tea party-backed Republican freshmen to join a majority of Democrats in voting against it, The Hill reported.

The measure is now expected to return to the House floor for a regular vote that would require a simple majority to pass. If House members vote then as they did Tuesday, the extension will pass easily.

At issue were three core measures in the PATRIOT Act adopted in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks to fill what the government complained were gaps in its abilities to track and catch extremists.

The provisions, which expire at month’s end, allow authorities to use roving wiretaps to track an individual on several telephones; track a non-US national suspected of being “lone-wolf” terrorist not tied to an extremist group; and to seize personal or business records seen as critical to an investigation.

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The White House said in a statement that it “strongly supports extension of three critical authorities that our nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies need to protect our national security.”

With the Republican-held House of Representatives set to vote on extending the powers to December 8, the White House said it “would strongly prefer” an extension to December 2013, but “does not object” to the House bill. House Republicans say the 10-month span would provide the time needed to debate and enact a longer extension, and the GOP’s leadership has said it ultimately wants to see the PATRIOT Act made permanent.

That some tea party Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the measure will likely be welcome news to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who earlier this week issued a challenge to tea party members to stand up for the civil liberties they say they cherish by opposing the PATRIOT Act, which has been severely criticized by civil libertarians since its original passing after the 9/11 attacks.

“I am hopeful that members of the Tea Party who came to Congress to defend the Constitution will join me in challenging the reauthorization,” Kucinich said in a statement.

With a report from AFP

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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