Lisa Mascaro
The Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2011

The Republican-led House on Tuesday failed to pass a short-term extension of the USA Patriot Act favored by GOP leaders, an unexpected political setback that shows the difficulty the party faces in keeping control of their new majority, with its legion of tea party-inspired members.

Key provisions of the terrorist surveillance law expire at the end of the month, and a coalition of veteran Republican lawmakers and conservative new members blocked passage of a measure that many tea party activists see as federal government over-reach into private affairs.

The unexpected turn of events will require the White House, which is seeking to extend the Sept. 11-era bill through 2013, to work with congressional leaders to devise a new strategy for passage.

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