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FISA Debate In Senate, Part VII

No particular reason. Why do you ask?

UPDATE: — According to Howard Wolfson of the Clinton Campaign, Hillary Clinton will not be taking the 1 1/2 hour trip from South Carolina to Washington DC to join the Dodd filibuster — jh

FEINSTEIN: Terrorist surveillance program operated for four years and two months with no court review or approval outside the FISA requirements. The US has had a rather sordid history of using foreign surveillance for domestic purposes — taking about the Church Comm. Report. Going through history of breaches of Bush Administration and disrespect for the rule of law– signing statements, unitary executive assertions, and Art. II authority assertions against the Constitution. FISA court should have oversight — minimization strictures should be applied in accordance with law. Want to add in exclusivity language that was part of SJC bill — in agreement with SJC and Intel committees on this.

Domestic criminal wiretapping and surveillance must be done via warrant and other requirements by law. Must have either court order or a statutory authorization. (Amendment #3857.) Kyl objects.

REID: Talking about Veep statement yesterday at Heritage Foundation and Presidential statement today. They were both saying "Congress must act quickly," so why the GOP stall tactics on the amendments? We’re trying to act in the interests of national security, but we want to do so within the confines of the law and the constitution. The American people expect us to do this. We have tried to move forward on this legislation — but the GOP keeps stalling. Whassup? [CHS notes: Paraphrasing there…Long, rambly blahbity blah about the GOP not acting in good faith and blocking germaine amendments. The only thing I can say to this is "well, duh! Which is why we wanted the SJC bill to be the base bill in the first place." I need a drink.]

Asking unanimous consent to extend this for 30 days. Unless cloture is invoked, this is not going to be finished until Feb. 1st, Reid says, rather than pass a bad bill. Says McConnell is going to file cloture when he finishes — 30 hours would begin running, but vote will not be until Monday no later than 1:00 pm ET. If cloture is not invoked, unless Bush agrees to some extension time, then the program will fail. Cannot in good conscience support this legislation without improvements on very basic amendments.

Reid now brings up the House RESTORE bill. McConnell objects, and is posturing on the floor saying that the only bill the President will sign is the one that rubber stamps his illegal actions. [CHS notes: Well, that’s cozy of him. And not predictable at all.] McConnell using the "bipartisan" language threat to push fence sitters in the Democratic party toward the GOP position.

McConnell now files cloture signed by 17 GOP members. Quorum call shortly thereafter.

Agreement for cloture vote on 4:30 pm ET on Monday (or maybe Tuesday — some confusion on that). Consent requested. Quorum call again.

Just confirmed that the vote will, indeed, be Monday. CANTWELL talking about stimulus measures on economy currently.

REID now asking that vote occur on Monday, Jan. 28th at 4:30 pm ET, that the requirements on 30-hours be waived, and various procedural requirements to make that work under Senate rules.

[CHS notes: In case anyone is wondering, this is a very good time to phone, e-mail, FAX and otherwise get the attention of your Senators to let them know that the Intel bill is unacceptable — to vote no on cloture.]

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com