The press is already hailing it as a victory for Bush and the GOP, but I call it a major loss for Americans. The House just passed the new and improved Patriot Act by a super-majority vote.
Bush, forced by filibuster to accept new curbs on law enforcement investigations, is expected to sign the legislation before 16 provisions of the 2001 law expire on Friday.
The vote was 280-138, just two more than needed under special rules that required a two-thirds majority. It marked a political victory for Bush and will allow congressional Republicans facing midterm elections this year to continue touting a tough-on-terror stance. Bush’s approval ratings have suffered in recent months after revelations that he had authorized secret, warrantless wiretapping of Americans.
Prediction: Aside from Ron Paul, the GOP is going to have a very tough time maintaining control of the House of Representatives in 2006. While there may not be a significant difference between the parties, the increased level of gridlock (a good thing — my favorite Gary Nolanism) of one party not having absolute control over all three branches of government will certainly be welcome.
Of course, we all know Bush will sign the bill. The graphic (courtesy of Flickr) indicates where he can stick his pen, though.