USA PATRIOT Act: Background and Comparison of House- and Senate-approved Reauthorization and Related Legislative Action [August 9, 2005]   [open pdf - 155KB]

"The House and Senate have each passed USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Acts, H.R. 3199 and S. 3189. Both make permanent most of the expiring USA PATRIOT Act sections, occasionally in modified form. After amending two of the more controversial expiring sections, 206 (roving Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretaps) and 215 (FISA tangible item access orders (business records-library records)), they postpone their expiration date, S. 1389 until December 31, 2009; H.R. 3199 until December 31, 2015. Both address questions raised as to the constitutionality of various 'national security letter' (NSL) statutes by providing for review, enforcement and exceptions to the attendant confidentiality requirements in more explicit terms. S. 1389 limits its NSL adjustments to the statute that affords federal foreign intelligence investigators access to communications records; H.R. 3199 amends the communications, and the financial institution and credit bureau NSL statutes. H.R. 3199 contains a substantial number of sections that have no counterpart in S. 1389, although many of them have been passed or reported by committee in one House or the other. Its treatment of seaport security, for example, is similar in many respects to that of S. 378, the Reducing Crime and Terrorism at Americas Seaports Act of 2005, as reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its first responder grant program sections are virtually identical to legislation which the House sent to the Senate as H.R. 1544. And its death penalty sections are reminiscent of sections found in H.R. 10 in the 108th Congress as reported the House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 3199 alone permits wiretapping in the investigation of a greater range of federal crimes. It alone expands the use of forfeiture authority against money laundering particularly in terrorism cases."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33027
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