FISA vote could come as early as this evening. No one outside Hoyer, Bond, Rockefeller, WH negotiators and a select few staffers and lobbyist pals have seen the bill.
That includes exclusion of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, including Leahy and Conyers, who have been rendered utterly impotent on this issue by their own lack of pushback.
The folks who want to work on this can’t get their hands on whatever WH/lobbyist-crafted monstrosity is being held close to the vest. I’ve been on the phone and IM-ing with a number of staffers this morning — people who work for legislators who have been working their butts off to protect civil liberties and to ensure that anything crafted abides by the law and protects American national security as well.
None of them — not one — have been given any opportunity to even view a summary of this proposed bill. Worse, there is a rumor that the FISA mess may be folded into the Iraq funding bill in the House due to machinations by Steny. Just great.
Please get on the phone and tell your members of Congress (Senate and House) that voting for a bill that is being railroaded through without them being given an opportunity to review it for constitutional and civil liberties concerns is unconscionable. No telecom immunity, no violation of fourth amendment rights with blanket warrants — no vote unless and until the bill is fully vetted by people who respect the rule of law. If you’d like to help with our campaign on this, you can do so here.
And the word from the Democratic candidate for President on this rush to cover Dick Cheney’s ass? *crickets* Via Glenn:
Just consider this Reuters article from yesterday in which anonymous officials decree to us that it’s now a fait accompli that the Democratic Congress will enact the FISA/amnesty bill — an article which the commenter pow wow describes as "carefully-planted PR in the government-mouthpiece media — anonymously reminding the peons that resistance is futile; the game is up":
U.S. phone companies would be shielded from potentially billions of dollars in lawsuits under an anti-terror spy measure that appears headed toward approval, congressional sources said on Wednesday. . . . .
Democratic and Republican aides and a lobbyist familiar with negotiations said the House would likely approve the measure overwhelmingly. Despite opposition from its top two Democrats, the Senate would then likely give it final approval, clearing the way for President George W. Bush to sign it into law. . . ..
The proposed compromise would allow a federal district court to dismiss a suit if the company was provided written assurances that Bush authorized their participation in the spy program and that it was legal, sources said.
The telecom amnesty bill is something that has been engineered by telecom lobbyists from start to finish, while Bush officials engineer the part of the bill to provide full-scale warrantless eavesdropping powers. While the ACLU and other grass-roots groups have been shut out of the negotiation over this bill almost completely — it’s been conducted, like most important government processes, totally in the dark — telecom lobbyists are not only fully informed about what is going on but have been participating directly in the negotiations. Along with Bush officials, it’s the telecoms’ lobbyists who are "negotiating" with Congress over how to write the law providing for their own amnesty from breaking the laws passed by Congress.
This is everything Obama claims so vehemently to oppose, claims he wants to end. And yet the Congress under the control of his party is about to enact a radical bill to legalize vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and immunize telecoms who broke our country’s laws for years….
bmaz was on this late last night and reports:
Here is what Liz Rose from the ACLU gave me for publication:
One thing bugging me is that we do not have the Hoyer draft and neither do reporters; and yet some reporters are believing every single word Hoyer says. Feingold, Leahy, Conyers do not have the draft; the only people who do have it are Rockefeller, Bond, and Hoyer. People who are for the proposal. And yet I have not yet heard anyone question why that is. No sunshine and no one demanding to see the details.
Plus, even if leadership will vote with us, and act like they are on our side, the truth is they control the calendar. Nothing happens unless they want it to. It is so cynical and calculating. And it seems that the unwritten story is that this whole FISA cave in is really all about the DCCC and their worries about freshmen dems getting re-elected. They are not afraid of terrorists — they are afraid of ads about terrorists. If they were really afraid of terrorists they would just extend the orders. But all they really want is to reward the big telco contributors and get more checks for their campaign coffers. It is all political.
But I think they are wrong. Fear mongering did not help Guiliani win. And remember how good the House Dems were when they stood up on FISA and said no to the senate bill?. I will keep you up to date. Thanks. Liz
She is right. We, and more importantly, the Constitution, are being sold out for rank political posturing. Pitiful state of affairs that.
Here is the latest scheduling information from the House I can find.
Subject: House Approps 2008
TRACK BILLS: House Approps 2008
Draft Bill — Fiscal 2008 War Supplemental Appropriations (House)
Official Title: Fiscal 2008 War Supplemental Appropriations (House)
Cosponsors: No reported cosponsors
Next Scheduled Action: June 19, 2008 — Scheduled action — House Rules Committee (Chairman Slaughter, D-N.Y.) will consider a rule for floor debate for pendiing legislation. Time TBA, H-313 Capitol Bldg. New
NEW on this bill
June 19, 2008 — Scheduled action — House Rules Committee (Chairman Slaughter, D-N.Y.) will consider a rule for floor debate for pending legislation. Time TBA, H-313 Capitol Bldg. New
Please get on the phone and tell your members of Congress (Senate and House) that voting for a bill that is being railroaded through without them being given an opportunity to review it for constitutional and civil liberties concerns is unconscionable. No telecom immunity, no violation of fourth amendment rights with blanket warrants — no vote unless and until the bill is fully vetted by people who respect the rule of law. McJoan calls bullshit on the whole thing.
If you’d like to help with our campaign on this, you can do so here. Thanks so much, gang — now let’s get to work…