Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) released the following statement today in response to the announcement that the Senate this week will consider the compromise legislation that would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):
“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.
“If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says he will support Dodd and Feingold:
HuffPo has more on Reid’s opposition to the bill and notes how it’s at odds with the stance of his party’s nominee for prez:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this evening that he will vote against the compromise FISA legislation and work with likeminded colleagues to strip immunity for telecom firms from that bill.
It is a position that puts the Democratic Senate leader at odds with his own party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Barack Obama, who also has pledged to fight for the removal of immunity but will vote yes on the final package.
Ed Morrissey writes about how this puts Captain O-man in a dicey position:
Feingold’s reversal puts a great deal more pressure on Barack Obama. He initially supported the compromise, reversing the position he took in February, and then tried to pretend that telecom immunity could be separated from the compromise. On Monday, MoveOn demanded that Obama keep his promise to join Dodd and Feingold in filibustering any FISA bill with telecom immunity. Feingold’s reluctance to filibuster the bill had let Obama off the hook, but now the question has been dropped into his lap.
Does Obama join in a filibuster against a bill that he supports? That might be a first for the Senate. It would be a double-reversal reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s rapid-fire flip-flop on drivers licenses for illegal aliens in New York. If he does not join in the filibuster, he risks alienating a big chunk of the base that got him through the primaries against the Clintons — and his nomination isn’t entirely secured, as the superdelegates that put him over the top can change their minds until the first ballot at the convention. Will the Left press for that if Obama votes in favor of the FISA compromise?
Expect a Profiles in Courage moment when the votes come up for the FISA bill — and expect to see Obama campaigning in some town hundreds of miles from DC.
Obama’s opposition to retroactive telecom immunity: Just words?
Related: Jimmie at The Sundries Shack unloads on obstructionist Democrats re: the FISA bill and asks “Are the Democrats Dumb or Malicious?”