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Senate continues debate on Patriot Act extension

[JURIST] US senators debated Monday evening the possibility of extending the USA Patriot Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] only temporarily, from as little as three months to as long as four years, in response to President Bush's statement earlier in the day [JURIST report] urging the Senate to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Last week, the US House approved the reauthorization legislation [JURIST report], but the bill stalled in the Senate [JURIST report], with some Senators citing concerns over civil liberties protections. In a compromise, Democrats offered to extend for three months portions of the Act that are set to expire on Dec. 31 [CRS backgrounder; PDF], while moderate Republicans have insisted that any extension should last one to four years at a minimum. Other Republicans, such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [official website], have insisted that Republicans will only consider a temporary extension as a last resort. AP has more.

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