Will Blue Dogs get the FISA bill on the floor?

posted at 12:10 pm on May 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The next major expiration date in the FISA reform issue comes on Memorial Day. If the House does not approve the Protect America Act by that time, the NSA and other intel services will have to start requesting individual warrants for any surveillance involving American telecom switches, even when both ends of the communication lie outside the US. Blue Dog Democrats have begun to worry that the delay in House consideration of the bipartisan Senate compromise may hurt them in their election bids, and have begun to add their names to the discharge petition that will force Nancy Pelosi to schedule a vote:

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), the House Democrats’ point man in negotiations on an overhaul of intelligence surveillance law, is keeping his eye on conservative Blue Dog Democrats who might defect on the issue under Republican pressure.

The topic has reached a critical point because surveillance orders granted by the director of national intelligence and the attorney general under the authority of the Protect America Act begin to expire in August.

If Congress does not approve an overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by Memorial Day, intelligence community officials will have to prepare dozens of individual surveillance warrants, a cumbersome alternative to the broader wiretapping authority granted by the Protect America Act, say congressional officials familiar with the issue.
Conservative and freshman Democrats are growing skittish. These lawmakers expect campaign opponents to accuse them of imperiling national security if Congress does not enact new intelligence surveillance legislation.

The House doesn’t have much excuse for keeping the bill off of the floor. They haven’t exactly overwhelmed the Representatives with work this year, even putting aside the urgent nature of legislation for wartime defense. Pelosi and Hoyer have reinforced the Do-Nothing aspect of the 110th, offering little besides passing bills supporting National Watermelon Month and Mortician Recognition Day. They passed a stimulus bill in March, but have not seen fit to give themselves a stimulus to earn their salaries.

So far, the PAA advocates have lined up 189 signatures for the discharge petition. They need a majority, and right now they are just under 30 signatures short of that mark. Scanning the list, it appears that almost everyone on this list is a Republican. If two-thirds of the Blue Dogs sign this petition, it would be enough to finally get an up-or-down vote on this reform bill more than two months after the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate reached agreement on its terms.

If you don’t see your Representative’s name on this list, let him or her know your displeasure. Call 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to the office of your Representative. Be polite, but firm, in telling them that they owe the Senate and the American people an up-or-down vote on a vital issue of national security, and that they should sign that discharge petition to overrule Pelosi’s attempt to keep it in the dark.


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If you don’t see your Representative’s name on this list, let him or her know your displeasure. Call 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to the office of your Representative.

Done!

right2bright on May 1, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Do we really want the NSA listening to conversations between Obama supporters in the US and other nations?
.
Yes!

Right_of_Attila on May 1, 2008 at 12:18 PM

and that they should sign that discharge petition to overrule Pelosi’s attempt to keep it in the dark.

Ed, in your opinion, do you think there are any who might defect? I haven’t seen much action except those who are sitting on their butts while the Senate has been in session.

upinak on May 1, 2008 at 12:18 PM

National Watermelon Month? As in, Green on the outside, Red on the inside? Figures.

RushBaby on May 1, 2008 at 12:19 PM

First they eavesdrop on Osama, then they’ll be snooping to see what books you took out of the library!

Oh, the humanity!

How dare they see what everybody on the library staff can already see and gossip about!

Nooooo!

I only took out the Anarchist’s Cookbook because I thought it had a really good recipe for Guacamole Surprise!

profitsbeard on May 1, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Look for more bills to force the Dems hand on foreign security. They will have to ask Obama and Hillary, we know where McCain stands on this. The Achilles heal of the Dems.

right2bright on May 1, 2008 at 12:31 PM

The Dems have been on the wrong side of history for the last eight years. Anything to bring down Bush is the route they take whether or not they aid and abet our enemies. They have major news media like CNN, MSNBC and many other liberal outlets in their pocket to aid their cause. It’s been beyond disgusting to watch them operate to gain back their power to the detriment of the American people. The sad part is that many Americans after hearing 10 minute sound bites from the likes of CNN will vote these goons back in office.

Travis1 on May 1, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Some on needs to remind our spineless Speaker of the House that we take our national security seriously and Cindy Sheehan is not a viable threat to her position of hating our military and CinC more than Syrian leaders. If she’s really worried, she can take one trip to Venezuela and secure her leftoid spot.

Rovin on May 1, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Just as I suspected…. McCollum and Ellison not there….. freaking pigs.

MNDavenotPC on May 1, 2008 at 1:58 PM

My Congressman has signed. Please call if yours has not!

MCPO Airdale on May 1, 2008 at 5:04 PM

Calling Lungren right now. Can’t believe that turkey.

TimothyJ on May 1, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Called and got a receptionist, she says she will pass it on to Danny boy. I asked if they were getting very many calls on the FISA issue, and she said I was the first today. I think Lungrin is retiring. Maybe McClintock will do better. There is a man who is a true conservative. BTW, Doug Ose is a true RINO.

TimothyJ on May 1, 2008 at 5:26 PM

‘…Conservative and freshman Democrats are growing skittish. These lawmakers expect campaign opponents to accuse them of imperiling national security if Congress does not enact new intelligence surveillance legislation.’

Get some of Hillary’s “testicular fortitude” and “harden up” you sorry wimps! Take a historical lesson from some of your “ballsy” predecessors..!

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.”

— Sinclair Lewis

“Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both.”
— Benjamin Franklin

…and there’s this!

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
—President George W. Bush, Aug 5, 2004

Nuff said…?

J_Gocht on May 1, 2008 at 5:39 PM

I had faith my guy would be on there. Tied for the most conservative Rep in the House! woot!

bikermailman on May 1, 2008 at 7:57 PM

“bikermailman on May 1, 2008 at 7:57 PM

Courage bikermailman, courage is required to post!

You dah babe…!

J_Gocht on May 1, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Blue Dog Democrats have begun to worry that the delay in House consideration of the bipartisan Senate compromise may hurt them in their election bids

Our man of the people, Jason Altmire, Democrap PA, is more concerned with sucking up to San Fran Nan rather than defending our country, so his signature is not there.

I think republican Melissa Hart will probably take back her seat after this.

Zorro on May 1, 2008 at 9:42 PM

We ought to be hearing about this in the news every single frakking day, from the White House to McCain to the House and Senate pressers.

Instead there’s dead silence, and not just on the phone lines. I’d nearly forgotten about the whole disgraceful situation until Ed posted this.

The Democrats may be trying their hardest to lose America’s war with al-Qaeda, but the Republicans certainly seem to be making a serious effort to lose the ongoing political war to the Democrats.

Cylor on May 2, 2008 at 1:24 AM

“Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both.”
— Benjamin Franklin

J_Gocht on May 1, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! Do NOT quote this if you have to twist it to suit your message. Franklin said: “Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.”

Franklin was talking about the ‘feed the alligator so it’ll eat you last’ analogy, not striving for the permanent security of the nation he helped to build.

Go make up your own quote if you want to, and you can probably get other idiots to quote you and still attribute it to great Americans…but don’t invent crap quotes and claim Franklin said it.

James on May 2, 2008 at 8:29 AM