Here’s a headline I never thought I’d see from the 110th Capitulation Congress. The Hill reports Bye-bye bipartisanship.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Senate legislation is unacceptable because it grants immunity from lawsuits to telephone companies that shared private records with government officials. Pelosi said the legislation should also make clear that the administration’s authority to eavesdrop relies entirely on legislative statute and not on any executive powers granted to the president under the Constitution.
Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she would allow the intelligence community’s broader surveillance authority to lapse, forcing its members to obtain warrants from the special court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until the House and Senate can reach agreement on a reauthorization bill.
Democrats say that Senate Republicans deliberately slowed the passage of intelligence legislation in that chamber to put House leaders in a tight spot of having to either accept the Senate version or allow surveillance authorization to lapse.
The Republican strategy seems almost to have worked. Democratic leaders were in position to take up the Senate bill Thursday after they passed a rule Wednesday evening to allow them to vote on “any bill related to foreign intelligence.”
But their spines stiffened overnight. On Thursday, House Democrats claimed that allowing the authorization to lapse for a few weeks would pose no danger to the American people, bracing themselves for an expected onslaught of Republican accusations that Congress is imperiling national security.
“President Bush has nothing to offer but fear,” said Pelosi.
The Washington Post has more in House defies Bush on warrantless wiretaps.
Several Democrats said yesterday that many in their party wish to take a more measured approach to terrorism issues, and they refused to be stampeded by Bush. “We have seen what happens when the president uses fearmongering to stampede Congress into making bad decisions,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “That’s why we went to war in Iraq.”
White House officials and their allies were angry that the Democrats did not “blink,” as one outside adviser said. The decision to defy the White House came in the form of a weeklong adjournment of the House yesterday afternoon.
Pelosi said she instructed committee chairmen to begin talks with their Democratic counterparts in the Senate, who this week supported the administration’s position on the surveillance bill, suggesting that a compromise might be possible in the coming weeks.
Nancy don’t start that whole “compromising” with Bush and the Republicans thing again… that’s how America gets into these messes.
Four at Four continues below the fold. I’m not telling what’s there so you’ll have to leap below the fold to see…