- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

The House will vote today on an anti-terrorism bill whose provisions would expire after five years, the result of intense negotiations with the White House.
The sunset provision allows the legislation to expire automatically and is "key to reaching bipartisan support," said one aide close to the negotiations.
The Senate, meanwhile, took up its version of the bill last night and was headed toward passage.
Sen. Russell D. Feingold blocked passage Tuesday night until an agreement was reached to allow debate on four amendments he said would protect civil liberties.
"It is very important that we give the Department of Justice and our intelligence agencies the tools they need to combat and prevent terrorism," said Mr. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat.
"But it is also crucial that civil liberties in this country be preserved; otherwise, the terrorists will win the battle against American values without firing another shot."
The House bill addresses expanding powers to wiretap phones, conduct searches and seize assets, and the length of time suspected terrorists can be detained. It is expected to be a compromise between the version that passed the House Judiciary Committee 36-0 and a bill more closely resembling the Bush administration's original request moving through the Senate.
John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, confirmed the sunset was a key sticking point, but said quick passage was also a priority.
Mr. Hastert "wants to get a bill done quickly because it's important to the country to give law enforcement tools to get the job done," Mr. Feehery said.
"We are continuing to work out the issues in this bill so the administration is OK with it," the aide said.
Conservative and liberal lawmakers opposed the original proposal by Attorney General John Ashcroft, saying it trampled civil liberties.
They agreed to the scaled-back version, but the White House began lobbying House leaders to take up the Senate version, which was closer to the original, angering lawmakers.
"We understand that the executive branch is negotiating with you to eliminate the sunset provision before the Patriot Act goes to the floor," 27 Republican and Democrat members of the Judiciary Committee said in a letter to their leaders.
"Doing so would undermine the prerogative of the House to consider this important facet of the bill and undermine the Judiciary Committee's bipartisan consensus," the letter said.
"Instead, we urge you to take up the legislation as it was reported out of committee," the letter said.
The original sunset provision created by the committee was two years, and House members said it was "the keystone to the overwhelming support."
"Without it, many members of the Judiciary Committee would have difficulty supporting some of the sweeping changes in the legislation absent time-consuming hearings this year," the letter said.
House members also want to change the administration's request for indefinite detention of immigrants to seven days before criminal charges must be filed.
Mr. Feehery offered no details of what the final version will contain. "We'll see what the amendments look like," he said.

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