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The outcome led to angry recriminations from House Democrats, who accused Republicans of "vote-rigging" by holding the vote open for an extra 23 minutes to get enough colleagues to switch votes. Frustrated Democrats shouted "Shame, shame!" and "Democracy!" as the voting continued, but Republicans defended their right as the majority party to keep the vote open to "educate members" about the dangers of scaling back government counterterrorism powers.
"The timing was well within the rules of the House floor," said Burson Taylor, a spokeswoman for Representative Roy Blunt, the majority whip. "Sometimes that plays to our advantage, sometimes it plays to the Democrats' advantage."
"People are waking up to the fact that the government can walk into their libraries, without probable cause, without any particular information that someone was associated with terrorism, and monitor their reading habits," Representative Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who sponsored the measure, said in an interview.