House Passes Anti-Terror Bill

Capitol as seen from Washington Monument Sept. 24 generic
AP
The House approved new police powers sought by the Bush administration to track suspected terrorists but put a five-year expiration date on the most controversial of them.

The bill passed 337-79, reports CBS News producer John Nolen, with 129 Democrats and one independent joining with 207 Republicans to pass the bill.

The bill now goes back to the Senate, where a version passed Thursday night without the expiration on wiretapping authority. The Senate version also included new tools to combat money laundering.

Republican leaders jettisoned a bipartisan bill to pass a measure more to the Justice Department's liking, reports CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Bob Fuss. They called it the "Patriot Act," but Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich didn't see it that way.

"Patriots are those who in times of crisis will not give up their liberty for any cause," the chairman of the liberal House Progressive Caucus, said. "Tens of thousands of men and women are getting ready to journey far from the shores of our nation...to defend some of the very rights this legislation would take away."

But Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte said expanding wiretap power, allowing secret searches and making deportation easier are essential.

"Our law enforcement operatives will need new tools to fight this war and Congress must respond," he said.

Added Rep. Mark Greene, R-Wis., "we must move quickly, we must make sure that we are prepared, that we are safe, that this will never happen again."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner said he hoped the Senate would accept the changes and send the bill to President George W. Bush.

But Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said earlier Friday that Senate Democrats "will not support an anti-terrorism bill that does not have money laundering provisions in it."

A key part of the Senate bill would toughen U.S. laws against money laundering as part of a fast-moving congressional effort to target the financial networks that may have supported last month's devastating attacks on New York and Washington.

The Senate late Thursday passed its version a 96-to-1 vote.

Differences between the two versions of the bill will now be resolved before a final bill is sent to President Bush to sign into law, possibly next week.

The Senate voted on the one-month anniversary of the most deadly attack ever on American soil when hijackers rammed planes into U.S. landmarks, killing more than 5,000 people. The vote also came just hours after the FBI warned Americans of possible additional strikes in coming days.

President Bush praised the Senate for moving swiftly on the measure.

"I commend the Senate for acting quickly in a bipartisan way to give law enforcement these essential additional tools to combat terrorism and safeguard America against future terrorist attacks," said Mr. Bush.

He praises the bill as one which "respects our constitution while allowing us to treat terrorst acts the same as serious drug crimes and organized crime, and strengthens our ability to share information to disrupt, weaken and eliminate global terrorist networks."

Both the House and Senate anti-terrorism measures would expand the FBI's wiretapping authority, impose stronger penalties on those who harbor or finance terrorists and increase punishment for terrorists.

While civil libertarians have complained the expanded powers could be used to violate the rights of citizens, proponents argued the legislation was crafted to try to provide a balance between law enforcement and civil liberties.

Many senators, even ones who voted for passage of the bill, said further refinements were needed during an upcoming House-Senate conference on the measure.

But Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, "I think we got it just right."

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