U.S. Senate voting on FISA amendments

Dec. 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate is voting on a bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before programs expire at the end of the year, officials said.

Senators debated the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act for seven hours Thursday before failing to secure the 60-vote threshold needed to pass three amendments, The Hill reported.

The fourth and final amendment will be debated and voted on Friday.

Supporters of the bill said it would need to be passed without amendments so that it could go directly to President Barack Obama to be signed before it expires at the end of the year. If changes are made, the bill would have to be sent back to the House for approval.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., urged colleagues not to support any of the amendments.

"Without Senate action these authorities expire in four days and that's the reason the House bill is before us," Feinstein said Thursday. "That is why I urge my colleagues to vote no on all amendments.

"There is a view of some that this country no longer needs to fear attacks -- I don't share that view."

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