What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 30, 2008

Yesterday In The House

By voice vote, The House of Representatives voted to extend the Protect America Act of 2007 by 15 days.

Here's how they did it:
Section 6(c) of the Protect America Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-55; 121 Stat. 557; 50 U.S.C. 1803 note) is amended by striking `180 days' and inserting `195 days'.
Simple - almost sublime, really.

The problem, though, is over in the Senate. From The Politico:

With a partisan stalemate in the Senate holding up any revision to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the House today adopted a 15-day extension of the Protect America Act, legislation last August that expanded the surveillance powers of the Bush administration.

Senate Democrats are unable to agree among themselves and with their GOP counterparts on proposed FISA amendments, specificially a Intelligence Committee proposal to grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have participated in President Bush's warrantess surveillance program. A dozen Senate Democrats back the immunity provision, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), but other leading Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), are opposed to the effort.

With the Protect America Act expiring on Feb. 1, the House has now acted to extend that deadline for another two weeks in order to allow the Senate to reach an agreement, although there has been no movement on the issue as of press time. The House has already passed FISA-related legislation that does not include the telecom immunity language, and despite pressure from Bush to include it in any FISA bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is urging the Senate to do the same.

"Congress must update the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act by passing a bill that protects both our national security and our civil liberties," Pelosi said in a statment released by her office. "The House has already passed such a bill, the RESTORE Act, which provides flexible surveillance tools for the intelligence community while protecting the constitutional rights of Americans, and I hope the Senate will now follow suit."

The part that I don't get is about the telecom immunity. If the surveillance was warrantless, that makes it, in one way or another, illegal, right? And if it weren't illegal then there'd be no need to push for immunity, right?

So what part of "illegal" don't they understand? I'm just asking, Splinky, I'm just asking.

In any event, the House already has, as Speaker Pelosi is quoted above as saying, The Restore Act of 2007. ThinkProgress has a summary.

So no matter what happens in the Senate, the bill would still have to be reconciled with the House bill, a bill that does NOT have any provisions for telecom immunity.

Waiting to see what happens.


Schmuck Shitrock said...

Dems will fold like a napkin in a Nouvell Cuisine restaurant.

"Fair and Balanced" Dave said...

Dems will fold like a napkin in a Nouvell Cuisine restaurant.

Sadly I think you're 100 percent correct. With few exceptions (Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold immediately come to mind), the Dems in Congress lack the spine to stand up to President 32 Approval Rating.

"Fair and Balanced" Dave said...


Glenn Greenwald on Bipartisanship

Anonymous said...

John K. says: You are right. Democrat and liberals always fold. Why? Because you ain't got the guts to face your voters on what you really stand for. Especially you fair and balanced. You left wingers are out of touch and have to lie to get any support at all. I told you before, conservatives rule! Why don't you impeach someone. LOL LOL LOL LMAO LOL

EdHeath said...

The thing is, the Dems in the Senate might fold too far. If they go past the little change in the original bill, and it ends up being different than the House bill, it will go to conference, where it might die.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

it will go to conference, where it might die.
And that would be bad, because.....?