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Sunday, January 27, 2008

FISA Links

Tim Tagaris of Open Left reports that a cloture vote is scheduled for tomorrow at 4:30 pm:

There will be a cloture vote at 4:30 on Monday. There are two potential outcomes here.

a.) Republicans get 60 votes. In which case, there will only be one amendment pending to the final bill, and that is Feingold/Dodd on blanket warrants, I believe. That will get tabled quite easily (much like Judiciary was today), and then the Intelligence Bill as we know it will get a a vote for final passage.

b.) We stop Republicans from getting 60 votes, and we're right back where we left off today -- with no agreement on whether or not there is a 50 or 60 vote threshold to pass amendments.

Why is this a big deal?

Well, because there are a number of amendments out there that would serve as "poison pills," forcing a presidential veto. One or two of those might even get 50 votes (Feinstein's call to make FISA the exclusive means of electronic surveillance).

Julian Sanchez has more at Ars Technica:
While cloture would pass if it garnered the support of all those who voted to kill the alternative FISA reform bill, produced by the Judiciary Committee, at least some Democrats who crossed the aisle for that vote seem unwilling to close off debate just yet. If cloture is defeated, an extension of the Protect America Act seems likely. Meanwhile, any legislation passed by the Senate must still be reconciled with the RESTORE Act approved in the House last year, which contains provisions establishing tighter restrictions and more oversight on surveillance, and lacks the immunity grant for telecoms.

At Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald notes that victory seems possible:
Even just a two-week or one-month extension will allow more time to marshall the opposition to telecom immunity and a new FISA bill and to do what's possible to encourage the House to stand firm behind their bill -- in exactly the way that the Dodd Delay in December prevented quick and easy resolution. The longer this drags on without resolution, the more possible it is to push the opposition to a tipping point, and sometimes unexpected developments or even some luck (such as McConnell's overplaying his hand on Thursday) can prevent it all from happening.

Please keep the pressure on your senators to do the right thing and kill any bill that provides for telecom immunity or wiretaps without warrants based on individualizes suspicion. Once again, here's a link to the ACLU's action alert.


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