RealNews

Lawmakers Not Rushing to Take Up Terrorism Act

Despite President Bush’s plea for an extension of the counterterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, leading Republicans and Democrats in Congress said Wednesday that were in no rush to take up the politically divisive issue in this election year. Crucial provisions of the law do not expire until the end of 2005, and Mr. Bush’s push for their renewal in his State of the Union speech, which he repeated on Wednesday, caught many lawmakers off guard. “I’d say he’s about a year early,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and a leading member of the judiciary committee. “If I were running for president, I wouldn’t have brought it up now.” Mr. Grassley, like other members of Congress interviewed on Wednesday, said that while the antiterrorism act included some important law enforcement tools worth keeping, it was so far-reaching that its continuation needed careful scrutiny. Full Story

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