Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 11:39am
DEMOCRATS TRY TO EASE EAVESDROPPING VOTE
[SOURCE: New York Times, AUTHOR: Eric Lichtblau]
Senate Democrats concede that they probably lack the votes needed to stop a White House-backed plan to give immunity to phone utilities that helped the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping, and they are seeking to put off the vote for another month. The Senate delayed a vote in December, and it is scheduled to take up the issue again in a debate beginning Thursday. Putting off the vote for a second time riled White House officials and Republicans on Tuesday, because they insist that national security will be put at risk if Congress does not meet a Feb. 1 deadline to amend the eavesdropping law. The House approved a bill in November that omitted the immunity, as lawmakers opposed to the concept insisted that the companies should not be rewarded with legal protection for taking part in what some legal experts say was an illegal operation. The immunity issue has splintered Senate Democrats. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who leads the Intelligence Committee, has received approval from his committee for a plan that includes immunity. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has won passage of a competing plan that leaves it out.
* Who Cares Who Wins the Primary?
[Commentary] Bush is about to get his number one priority through Congress, a move that could be stopped by Edwards, Obama, or Clinton, especially the latter two. This is the move to implement retroactive immunity for telecom companies who spy on Americans and violate core constitutional principles. All that is required to fight this is for Clinton or Obama to put the glare of the Presidential spotlight in the Senate. To, you know, lead. All three campaigns are well-aware of this fight, and at least Clinton and Obama have been completely unresponsive.
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