Dick Cheney Telecom Amnesty Bill Recap
The interim measure passed in August that allowed the House to go on vacation lest George Bush hold them after school, the Protect America Act, is set to sunset this Friday, February 1.
The Republicans in the Senate, acting at George Bush’s behest, failed to get cloture on the Intelligence Committee’s version of the FISA bill, so there will be no up-or-down vote. They then blocked along straight party lines a 30 day extension of the PAA that would keep protections in place they’ve been insisting at top volume were absolutely necessary for American security because the President told them to.
The House will pass the 30 day extension tomorrow, and then it’s possible the bill comes back to the Senate, but it’s hard to imagine enough Repubicans will defy Bush to achieve the 60 votes necessary to get an up-or-down vote on an extension. The Republicans, to a one, are causing these "critical protections" to lapse.
Mitch McConnell says that he may consider a "short extension" tomorrow, but how and when that would come before the House is not clear. HR 5104 is contemplated tomorrow, but then the House is not in session for the rest of the week. So it’s hard to see how the "short extension" gets through both the Senate and the House before the PAA sunsets, but we’ll find out more as the week goes on I suppose.
We’ll be here tomorrow as the Senate takes up the Intelligence Committee FISA bill again.