The locals voted along party lines: Altmire and Doyle voted for it, Tim Murphy voted against.
The AP has the story:
The House voted Thursday night to strengthen court oversight of the government's surveillance of terrorist suspects but stopped short of providing legal immunity to telecommunication companies that helped eavesdrop on Americans.
The Democratic bill, approved 227-189, was a rebuke to President Bush, who has promised to veto any legislation that does not shield telecom companies from civil lawsuits. About 40 civil suits have been filed alleging the companies broke wiretapping and privacy lawsuits for monitoring phone calls and e-mails without permission of a secret court created 30 years ago for that purpose.
The House bill would allow unfettered telephone and e-mail surveillance of foreign intelligence targets but would require special authorization if the foreign targets are likely to be in contact with people inside the United States — a provision designed to safeguard Americans' privacy.And:
Of course the Republicans, looking to kill a bill they can't defeat, introduced a "Motion to Recommit With Instructions" minutes after the bill was introduced for passage.
The new bill tightens rules on the sharing of identifying information gleaned from electronic surveillance that involves Americans. It provides protections against "reverse targeting" _that is, using unfettered foreign surveillance to secretly monitor Americans. It increases the size of the secret court that oversees intelligence. It also prohibits future presidents from conducting electronic surveillance outside the procedures established by the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
This so-called exclusivity provision would undermine Bush's claim that Congress' approval of the use of military force after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was all the approval he needed to bypass FISA and eavesdrop inside the United States without court approval.
Remember the "Motion to Recommit"? The Washington Post has a description here.
The motion to recommit allows the minority a chance to amend a bill on the floor or send it back to committee, effectively killing it. In a legislative body in which the party in power controls nearly everything, it is one of the few tools the minority has to effect change.And the Republican obstructionists are using the tool far more sneakily than their predecessors:
In any event, the Motion to Recommit was denied by a vote of 194-222. We find the same voting pattern among the locals that we found with the Act itself. Altmire and Doyle voted against the Motion, Tim Murphy voted for it.
In the 12 years of Republican control that ended in January, Democrats passed 11 motions to recommit. Republicans have racked up the same number in just five months of this Congress.
Democrats say any comparison is unfair because when Republicans controlled Congress, they directed their members to vote against all Democratic motions to recommit.
Now in the majority and mindful of staying there, Democrats have given no such instruction to their members, allowing them to break with the party if they choose. Many freshmen Democrats from GOP-leaning districts find themselves voting with Republicans as a matter of survival -- a reality Republicans have seized upon.
Keep in mind that this is just one Act in one House of Congress. Something that's led atrios to point out that:
Current Senate Bill has no retroactive immunity. Just need for it to survive amendments, then get a decent bill out of conference, then Bush's inevitable veto, and then Democrats not caving in to Mr 24%.We'll keep watching.