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Congress, under a Democratic leadership that once promised to roll back the excesses of the USA Patriot Act, gave overwhelming approval to an extension of the act without any new protections or restrictions to curb widespread government spying and other widespread intrusions into the lives of American citizens.
By a 315-97 vote Thursday, the House approved the bill and sent it to President Barack Obama, who not only will sign it but insisted on the extension without any new safeguards.
The approval overrides campaign promises to curb abuses of civil rights which flourished under the Bush administration and helped Democrats seize control of Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections and put Obama in the White House in 2008.
While Democrats gave the bill the margin it needed for passage by a wide count, some opposed extended the law without new restrictions.
“Congress must revise and narrow — not extend — Bush era policies,” said Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, who voted against the bill.
Obama, however, has not only back away from promises to curb the constitutional abuses of the Patriot Act but now supports measures that would expand the government’s right to snoop into the lives of Americans without court oversight or Congressional review.
Democrats in the Senate tried to add new restrictions but faced still blocking efforts from Republicans. Democrats didn’t even try in the House.