The Republicans brought the bill to the floor Tuesday under a procedure requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. But with 26 Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the extension of the USA Patriot Act provisions, the vote was 277-148, seven short of what was needed for passage.
The bill would have extended until Dec. 8 provisions dealing with roving wiretaps, FBI access to business records and surveillance of non-U.S. "lone wolf" terrorist suspects. The provisions expire on Feb. 28 without House and Senate actions.
Congress overwhelmingly passed the Patriot Act after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The law expanded the government's surveillance and prosecutorial powers against suspected terrorists, their associates and financiers.