SPRINGFIELD — Extending the Patriot Act would have given law enforcement agencies too much power to delve into the private lives of Americans with little recourse, Illinois' U.S. senators said Friday.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield was among a bipartisan team of six lawmakers who helped deliver a victory for opponents of the controversial anti-terrorism measure.
The team held opponents together to block the renewal of the law, which was enacted in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The extension had passed the House on Wednesday, 251-174, and was the subject of an intense lobbying campaign by the the White House.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago said he favored extending the law by three months so negotiators could work out some of the differences.
"Giving law enforcement the tools they need to investigate suspicious activity is one thing and it's the right thing. But doing it without any real oversight seriously jeopardizes the rights of all Americans and the ideals America stands for," Obama said.
In the House, Illinois lawmakers did not vote by party lines. Republican U.S. Reps. Tim Johnson of Urbana and Donald Manzullo, whose district includes Rockford, went against the Bush administration.
In voting "no," Johnson expressed concern that the measure didn't contain a sunset provision, which is language requiring Congress to reconsider the law in a few years to make sure it wasn't being abused by law enforcement agencies.
"Without those sunset provisions, it sacrifices our civil liberties for an indefinite amount of time," Johnson spokesman Phil Bloomer said.
U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, a Republican from Peoria, had earlier expressed similar concerns about the proposal, but voted "yes" Wednesday because sunset clauses were added to some provisions of the law.
On the Democratic side, not all of Illinois' delegation opposed the proposal. Illinois Democrats voting "yes" were U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello of Belleville and Dan Lipinski of Chicago.