Senate blocks House bill on surveillance, fate of Patriot Act provisions in doubt

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The Senate is locked in a battle on how to modify the NSA's sweeping phone record collection program. AP Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian breaks down the debate. (May 22)

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FILE In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. The Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)


WASHINGTON — The Republican-led Senate has blocked a House bill that would have ended the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records.

The vote was 57-42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. It leaves the fate of key provisions of the Patriot Act in doubt with a June 1 deadline less than two weeks away.

The vote came shortly after midnight Friday as the Senate struggled to complete its work before a weeklong Memorial Day break.

The House had overwhelmingly passed the USA Freedom Act last week. The measure would authorize case-by-case searches of records held by phone companies instead of the government.

It also would extend two other expiring surveillance provisions used frequently by the FBI.

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