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Patriot Act extension fails in the House by seven votes

A large majority of the freshman Republicans did back extension of the law, which President George W. Bush staunchly supported. Even some who wavered eventually decided to vote for the bill.

Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), a freshman who voted yes, said the measure is "going to need some examination going forward, so all I did today is just, hey, instead of making a wrong decision, we're just going to do a little more due diligence to make the very right decision to both protect our security as well as protect the civil liberties of the American people."

"This is just a temporary extension, so the Judiciary Committee can dive a little deeper into the details," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a second-term lawmaker closely aligned with tea party activists. "That seemed fair. I don't want to let it expire without giving it full contemplation."

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who sponsored the extension, told reporters after the vote that opposition had little to do with the particular provisions being considered Tuesday and more to do with other counterterrorism tools that have received scrutiny. "People didn't understand it," he said. "A lot of the complaints that we heard were about sections [of the law] not in this bill."

The White House said in a statement Tuesday that it "does not object" to extending the three Patriot Act provisions until December.

It added, however, that the administration "would strongly prefer" an extension until December 2013, noting that the longer timeline "provides the necessary certainty and predictability" thatlaw enforcement agencies require while at the same time ensuring that Congress can continue to review the law's effectiveness.

The Senate is considering three competing timelines, in addition to the House legislation. Among them are proposals that would permanently extend the three provisions or extend them through 2013.

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