Monday, January 28

FISA Bill Stalled By Senate Dems

In a move that pleases the civil libertarian in me, the Dems voted against cloture on the bill that would renew FISA while not holding Telecoms liable for their disclosure of phone records to the Feds. From the Austin American-Statesman.

A majority of Democratic senators killed a Republican motion Monday that would have forced a vote on legislation that overhauls the nation’s electronic surveillance rules.

The 48 to 45 vote put Democrats in the odd position of opposing a vote on a bill supported by Democratic leaders and authored by fellow Democrat-Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Va., chairman of the intelligence panel.

Rockefeller and most Democrats said they opposed the Republican motion because it would have prevented a full airing of Democratic amendments to the controversial bill.

“The FISA legislation before the Senate has been taken hostage,” said Rockefeller in a floor speech urging Democrats to vote against ending debate and bringing his bill up for a vote. “In a transparent attempt to score political points off of national security issues, the White House has decided once again that scaring the American people with unfounded and manipulative claims is in order.”

A temporary measure providing expanded wiretapping authority approved last August is scheduled to expire on Friday. The Senate voted 48 to 45 to reject an effort to extend that measure.

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