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    Bush Urges Extension of Patriot Act

    President Bush says it is inexcusable that opposition Democrats are blocking the extension of anti-terrorism laws first passed following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

    President Bush says reauthorize these anti-terrorism laws is a matter of protecting America from further violence.

    "The terrorists still want to hit us again," he said. "There is an enemy that lurks - a dangerous group of people who want to do harm to the American people and we must have the told necessary to protect the American people."

    President Bush says the laws, known as the Patriot Act, have been effective tools in preventing attacks in the United States. While many of those provisions will expire at the end of the year, President Bush says terrorist threats will not.

    Democrats are blocking a final vote on the measure because of concerns about protecting civil liberties. President Bush says the Patriot Act does protect those rights and it is wrong for Democrats to play politics.

    "This obstruction is inexcusable," he said. "The senators obstructing the Patriot Act need to understand that the expiration of this vital law will endanger America and will leave us in a weaker position in the fight against brutal killers."

    President Bush also urged Senators to pass a $450 billion defense spending bill which includes money for pandemic flu preparation and Gulf Coast recovery efforts.

    Vice President Dick Cheney cut short a trip to South Asia and the Middle East, so he could return to Washington in case he is called on to cast the tie-breaking vote on the issue in the 100-member Senate.

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