A measure to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act counterterrorism surveillance law through December failed the House Tuesday night, with more than two-dozen Republicans bucking their party to oppose the measure.Not that I have any more respect or admiration for the teabaggers. They're still a blight on the country. But it is interesting to see that they can and do buck some of the Republicans' default positions. Should make the next two years more fun.
The House measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and required a two-thirds majority for passage, failed on a 277-to-148 vote. Twenty-six Republicans voted with 122 Democrats to oppose the measure, while 67 Democrats voted with 210 Republicans to back it. Ten members did not vote.
The measure would have extended three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire on Monday, Feb. 28, unless Congress moves to reauthorize them. One of the provisions authorizes the FBI to continue using roving wiretaps on surveillance targets; the second allows the government to access "any tangible items," such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and the third is a "lone wolf" provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act that allows for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.
The vote came as several tea party-aligned members of the new freshman class had been expressing doubts about the measure.
Edit: Okay, true, most of the teabaggers voted for it. And it'll be coming up again as a regular vote, so it'll likely pass.
Still, for the Republican party, even a minor rebellion like this is somewhat of a big deal.