Deepening unhappiness with President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress soured the mood of Americans and sent Bush's approval rating to another record low this month, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.And
Bush's job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month's record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month's record low.Now we all know why dubya's numbers are in the toilet (his illegal war, the un-American domestic surveillance, and so on), but Congress? Perhaps this is the reason. Yesterday, the FISA bill passed last August (and rushed through Congress with more lies of terrorist threats) was to be voted on again. Congressman Jason Altmire was on Lynn Cullen's radio show to talk about the vote.
The vote never happened.
The GOP effectively threw a wrench into the works late last night. From The Politico:
TPMElection Central has some more details. Eric Cantor, GOP House member from the New York, posted this on his website:
Democratic leaders in the House were forced to suspend consideration of legislation updating the laws for warrantless wiretapping Wednesday after Republicans threatened to offer a procedural blockade.
Aides to Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) notified Republicans Wednesday evening that the bill, which had been scheduled for a vote that afternoon, would not come to the floor after Republicans advertised their intent to offer a motion that would essentially kill it.
The motion was a simple declaration that nothing in the bill would prevent intelligence officials from conducting surveillance on Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda or "any other terrorist organization" from attacking the United States or its citizens.
The problem is that Republicans wrote the motion in such a way that it would kill the overarching bill if Democrats helped them approve it.
And since most members of Congress would rather not vote for something that could be construed on the campaign trail as a vote to defend bin Laden, al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization, Democratic leaders could not bring the overarching bill to the floor.
Today, we will be offering an amendment to the legislation to clarify that nothing in the bill "shall be construed to prohibit the intelligence community from conducting surveillance needed to prevent Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or any other foreign terrorist organization…from attacking the United States or any United States person."The only problem is that the FISA bill already had such provisions. Rep Jerry Nadler (D-NY):
It also includes emergency provisions, including the ability to get a warrant after the fact, to ensure that the government will never have to stop listening to a suspected terrorist plotting an attack.As Greg Sargent writes:
...it would appear to make it very obvious that Cantor's amendment was simply about scuttling the bill and nothing else.Even the AP said that:
The measure would have allowed unfettered telephone and e-mail surveillance of foreign intelligence targets but would require special authorization if the foreign targets were likely to be in contact with people inside the United States, a provision designed to safeguard Americans' privacy.
The Republicans scuttled a bill that would protect our privacy. But when have they ever believed in the right to privacy?
All this while polls show that voters oppose warrantless wiretaps. Somewhere around 60% of them.
The people are against the war, they voted in a Democratic Congress to stop it. It can't or won't. The people are against warrantless wiretapping, the Democrats in Congress can't stop the minority party in the House from scuttling the bill.
Is there any wonder why the numbers for Congress are so frickin low?