Breaking: FISA passes cloture in Senate

If Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold wanted a filibuster, they apparently failed to convince enough of their colleagues to join them.  Reuters reports that the FISA compromise bill from the House got 80 votes to limit debate:

A White House-backed spy bill to protect telecommunication companies from billions of dollars in possible privacy lawsuits passed a Senate test vote on Wednesday and headed toward final congressional approval.

On a vote of 80-15, mostly Republican supporters of the bipartisan measure*, which would also implement the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. spy laws in decades, easily mustered the 60 needed to clear a Democratic procedural roadblock.

Overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives on Friday, the bill may win needed Senate concurrence before Congress begins a holiday break the end of this week.

A cloture vote today means a Friday vote, and that would allow Congress to send the bill for Bush’s signature by early next week.  The paltry number of the opposition to the bill shows that the House version strengthened the hands of those who want FISA reform and telecom immunity, and showed how marginal the effort was to derail it.

How did Barack Obama vote?  I’ll look for the data and include it in an update — but I think he was out of DC today and on the campaign trail.

Update: Obama was Not Voting, as was McCain.  Here are the 15 who tried to block the bill:

Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Will the netroots forgive Obama for not rushing back to vote against cloture?  If Dodd and Feingold could only muster 13 other votes, probably.

Update II: Hillary Clinton was also Not Voting.  The other two who didn’t vote were Byrd and Kennedy, both of whom are (I believe) still out for medical reasons.

Update III: * – “mostly Republican supporters”?  Well, by my count, the Yeas were 32 Democrats and 48 Republicans, which I guess could be called “mostly”, but that same kind of count would be called “bipartisan” in any other context.  That means a majority of the Democratic caucus supported this bill, even without Hillary and Obama.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on March 20, 2023