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Bush calls Senate failure to renew Patriot Act 'inexcusable'

[JURIST] President Bush on Monday slammed the Senate's failure to renew [JURIST report] the USA Patriot Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] as "inexcusable," saying the legislation is a crucial part of the government's efforts to prevent future terror attacks. Several sections of the anti-terror law are set to expire [CRS backgrounder; PDF] at the end of the year; the US House last week passed [JURIST report] legislation to reauthorize the Patriot Act [bill summary; conference report, PDF], but the bill stalled in the Senate. At a press conference Monday morning, where he also defended the legality of secret NSA domestic surveillance [JURIST report], Bush said:

...key provisions of this law are set to expire in 12 days. The House of Representatives voted for reauthorization, but last week, a minority of senators filibustered the Patriot Act, blocking the Senate from voting to reauthorize key provisions of this vital law. In fact, the Senate Democratic leader boasted to a group of political supporters that the Senate Democrats had "killed the Patriot Act." Most of the senators now filibustering the Patriot Act actually voted for it in 2001. These senators need to explain why they thought the Patriot Act was a vital tool after the September the 11th attacks, but now think it's no longer necessary.

The terrorists want to strike America again, and they hope to inflict even greater damage than they did on September the 11th. Congress has a responsibility to give our law enforcement and intelligence officials the tools they need to protect the American people. The senators who are filibustering the Patriot Act must stop their delaying tactics, and the Senate must vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act. In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment.
Read the full transcript of Bush's remarks. AFP has more.

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