The Consortium Report
A project of The Media Consortium

FISA Voting Under Way

by Brian Beutler, The Media Consortium: Tue., Feb 12, 2008
Filed under: Congressional Oversight

So far, the following amendments have failed:

  • Feinstein amendment making FISA the exclusive source of authority for wiretapping: 57-41 on a 60-vote rule.
  • Feingold-Webb amendment prohibiting the use of illegally obtained surveillance: 35-63.
  • Dodd-Feingold immunity-stripping provision: 31-67.
  • Feingold amendment prohibiting bulk collection: 37-60
  • Specter-Whitehouse substitution amendment (making the U.S. government the defendant in telecom lawsuits): 30-68 with many nays coming from those in the Dodd camp who seek a full strip of immunity.
  • Feinstein amendment for the FISC to certify that the telecoms acted in good faith before they receive a grant of immunity: 41-57

The Sheldon Whitehouse amendment giving the FISC jurisdictional and oversight authority over minimization procedures actually passed. In their letter to Harry Reid, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Michael Mukasey opposed the amendment, but did not explicitly say they’d recommend a veto if it passed. How that affects things going forward remains to be seen. This was a poor, but expected showing. Reid now says he opposes cloture on the final bill, but as a bellwether, the fact that 67 senators voted to immunize telecommunications companies makes the prospect of a failed cloture vote look fairly weak.

An update will follow shortly.

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