Good news: the Senate Republicans who joined with the Democrats to stall renewal of the Patriot Act have now struck a deal with the administration to vote for extending the Act. News reports have been pretty fragmentary, but it sounds as though the revisions to the law will be minor.
When the Democrats “killed the Patriot Act,” as Harry Reid bragged, the press gave them cover by describing the opposition to the act’s extension as “bipartisan.” That fig leaf is now gone. So the Democrats will have to decide whether to filibuster the Patriot Act’s extension, or not. They certainly won’t do it, which will enrage their far-left base, once again exacerbating the split within the party.
PAUL ADDS: Andy McCarthy at NRO’s Corner has more on the deal. He argues that it’s a good compromise for the administration. The only potentially harmful aspect is the compromise making libraries immune from requests for information unless they are “electronic service providers.” But, as McCarthy explains, “Assuming this means that infomation may still be sought from any library that makes Internet and email services available to patrons, the compromise is probably not that big a deal, since many (perhaps most) libraries today do provide those services, and a suspect’s Internet or email use is what is most likely to be of interest to investigators.”
Presumably, the administration had to offer Patriot Act critics like Republican Senator John Sununu this much in order to break the logjam. Sununu (a good faith critic, I think) has managed to save face. The Democratic critics have not and, as John notes, they are in a tough position now.
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