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US House gives final approval to Patriot Act

The US House of Representatives gave final approval to a revised version of the sweeping anti-terrorism Patriot Act law passed by Congress.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 19:45 IST

The US House of Representatives gave final approval to a revised version of the sweeping anti-terrorism Patriot Act law passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001 attacks, by a vote of 280 to 138.

The bill now goes to US President George W Bush for to be signed into law.

"This much-needed legislation gives law enforcement the tools necessary to stay on the offensive in our fight against terrorism," top House Republican, Speaker Dennis Hastert said after the vote on Tuesday.

"We have seen in recent months that Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network continue to plot to do harm to American citizens, so we must remain vigilant. This is a good, bipartisan bill that will go a long way towards protecting American families," Hastert said.

The updated version of the bill, which makes several temporary provisions permanent while addressing some civil liberties concerns, was passed last week by the US Senate.

Automatic "sunset" provisions meant the legislation, which had already been extended twice, would have expired later this month without new congressional action.

A revised bill, a compromise between House and Senate negotiators, took weeks to hammer out after several lawmakers - including a handful of senators from Bush's Republican Party - expressed reservations about expanded government search and surveillance powers in the legislation.

Those concerns, they said, by and large have been addressed in the legislation approved on Tuesday.

The original Patriot Act passed just five weeks after the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 16:33 IST