The GOP expected little trouble with the bill. So Republicans brought the Patriot Act to the floor under a special procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for passage. It's a maneuver that's typically reserved for non-controversial legislation or bills that carry wide support.
"Look at the ‘Don't Tread on Me flag.' It doesn't say don't tread on me, but it's okay if you spy," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), one of the most ardent opponents of the Patriot Act. "What the Republican leadership didn't count on is that they have some new members who are freshmen who are conservative, libertarian, who really do believe in civil liberties."
But despite the misstep, Republicans blamed Democrats for the defeat.
"I am surprised that so many Democrats who supported an extension of these very same provisions last Congress suddenly changed their votes," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). "President Obama supports a reauthorization of these important national security tools."
Under most circumstances, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is charged with ensuring that his party has the votes to pass a bill. But it's rare for the whip to twist arms on a measure handled like this one on the floor because it's usually a fait accompli.
"Today, Democrats in Congress voted to deny their own administration's request for key weapons in the war on terror," said McCarthy spokeswoman Erica Elliott
Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador was one of 26 Republicans to vote against extending some provisions in the Patriot Act... “While I agree that law enforcement and national security agencies need the tools necessary to keep America safe from terrorism, when crafting policy we need to be sure we are not infringing upon the protections and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution,” Labrador said in a prepared statement.
Not too often that I agree with Kucinich and strange that he would bring up the Gadsden flag, but in this case.