WASHINGTON - Congress approved a four-year extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act last night, overcoming opposition from both political parties to narrowly avoid a lapse in the terrorist surveillance law.

President Obama, attending an international summit in France, made plans to awake at 5:45 a.m. local time to review and approve the bill, directing that it be signed in Washington by automatic pen before the provisions expired at midnight EDT, with just minutes to spare.

Passage came late yesterday after a protracted political struggle that played out over several months, a sign of increased unease with powers granted to the federal government to investigate citizens and foreigners after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.