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Patriot Act Moves Forward - Harry Reid Refuses to Allow Amendments

Saying "We can't let this expire," Harry Reid betrayed his word to his fellow Senators on Tuesday, refusing to allow amendments to key Patriot Act provisions and using a procedural trick to move the bill forward anyway.

Sen. Reid will be offering a different, amended Patriot bill from the one that's already under discussion. Then he'll use a procedural maneuver called "filling the tree" to block all amendments, and proceed with a vote.

It's largely expected to pass, with the Associated Press reporting that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner having acquiesced to Reid's moves.

Reid said he had reached an agreement with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio on how to assure that the Senate could come could to a final vote on the legislation by Thursday and the House could vote immediately after that.

The principal opponent to Reid's games has been Sen. Rand Paul. Paul's office shot over a note that said Harry Reid specifically pledged to accept amentments in the Patriot Act debate, remarks that Reid has now turned his back on.

"It has been a difficult issue, and I will put on the record what I have told a number of Senators personally, and that is that we will, prior to this expiration occurring, bring up the PATRIOT Act and have an opportunity for an extended period of time - a week at least - to offer amendments and do whatever people feel is appropriate on this bill.


Although I didn't agree that I would support their amendments... that is what we should be able to do, to set this up so they can offer their amendments... we are going to have the amendment process.

Paul had eight amendments to the bill, the most prominent of which would have given protection to gun owners from some of the most invasive information-gathering techniques granted by the government by the Patriot Act.

But now, of course, Reid has turned his back on all parties who wished to offer amendments to a controversial piece of legislation. And I thought the Democrats won a few elections campaigning against Bush's Patriot Act?

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