Congress had not been prepared to pass the Patriot Act as quickly as Ashcroft wanted and failed to meet his September 21 deadline. By September 24 the legislation had run into trouble, coming in for criticism in committees of both Senate and House. Ashcroft kept pushing. “Terrorism is a clear and present danger to Americans today,” he said, adding that “each day that so passes is a day that terrorists have an advantage.”
On September 25 questions and criticisms continued to arise around the Patrioit Act, so Bush and Cheney entered the fray. Bush said: “we’re at war…and in order to win the war, we must make sure the law enforcement men and women have got the tools necessary.” Cheney, at a lunch with Republican senators, asked them to do their best to get the legislation through Congress by October 5.