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Congress: Patriot Act passes

“After two days of wrangling and last-minute deal-making in the Senate, Congress cleared a reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act on Thursday, and the Obama administration announced that the president signed the bill into law before provisions of the anti-terrorism act expired at midnight,” Roll Call writes.

“With Obama currently in France, the White House said the president would use an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president. Minutes before the midnight deadline, the White House said Obama had signed the bill,” AP writes.

Roll Call: “Senate to Take Weeklong Break Without Adjourning.” From the story: “Senate Budget ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) threatened this week to block any unanimous consent request to adjourn because Senate Democrats had not offered a budget resolution for a floor vote.”

Why? The Hill writes, “Some Republicans feared that Obama would use the recess to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will have broad powers over Wall Street.”

“War-weary Republicans and Democrats yesterday sent the strongest message yet to President Obama to end the war in Afghanistan as the commander in chief decides how many US troops to withdraw this summer,” the AP writes. “A measure requiring an accelerated timetable for pulling out the 100,000 troops from Afghanistan and an exit strategy for the nearly 10-year-old conflict secured 204 votes in the House, falling just short of passage but boosting the hopes of its surprised proponents.”

“The House of Representatives yesterday overwhelmingly voted to prohibit ground troops from being sent to Libya, showing the limits of congressional support for US involvement in military action,” the New York Post writes. “The House voted, 416-5, to add the ban to a defense-authorization bill.”

“The US House of Representatives risked a potential veto by President Obama yesterday when it approved a $690 billion defense bill that throws a lifeline to a disputed jet fighter engine with parts that would be built at a General Electric plant in Lynn, [MA],” The Boston Globe reports.