Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FISA the morning after

Harry Reid is calling for an extension to the Protect America Act, possibly until the inauguration of the next President. He says that the Senate would take up a House measure to extend the law if offered.

One tangible victory is that Reid is now pushing for debate on all 12 Democratic amendments to Rockefeller-Bond. This would effectively convert the bill into something more like the Senate Judiciary Committee Bill.

What is crucial to remember is that it takes a Unanimous Consent agreement in the Senate to offer amendments. There is no such agreement in place right now. This is a major difference between the House and Senate. In the House the "Rules Committee" determines the terms under which a bill is brought to the whole house, in the Senate, effectively, the whole senate is the rules committee, and any one Senator can object.

This is because any one Senator can stop a UC, that's why is called a UC. Senators Dodd and Feingold, who have more or less stated that they will fight this to the end, would also have to agree on any UC as to which amendments to bring up. Reid's statement means, in effect, that he knows that the only way to get Dodd and Feingold on is to have votes on all of the amendments to Rockefeller-Bond. Many of these might fail on a straight question of the majority, but that's for the roll call to determine.

Bush has vowed to veto any extension to the act of a short term nature. McConnell's office is reportedly willing to consider a two week extension, but only in the context of presenting a bill acceptable to Bush for signature. This might be his opening position, and I don't have any idea of what he would be willing to accept as a deal.

The other alternative is the finger pointing will continue, begun already by Bush in his State of the Union demand to pass his version of the legislation. And by that he means with retromunity, reverse targetting and data mining in tact.

Related: AT&T plans to open every packet on the internet.

Every one. Hope that thought keeps you warm the next time you are chatting with your mistress while your wife is away. AT&T doesn't have to obey the bill of rights, you see.

Maybe it is time to start working on an version of SL that works by smoke signals.

No comments:

Post a Comment