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Filibustering FISA

December 16, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE 2: Dodd won. The bill was pulled from the floor and won’t come up in the Senate again until 2008.

UPDATE: I am traveling today, but I want to pass along a couple of links before I get on my plane. First, Russ Feinold has a guest post up on TPMCafe that gives a little more detail about how the FISA debate will go down and what’s at stake. Second, he’s posted a fact-check sheet for the Dodd-Feingold amendment to strike retroactive immunity on his website. Dodd’s filibuster begins if (once) the Dodd-Feingold amendment fails. Both Feingold pieces are must reads.

Chris Dodd (D-CT) will be taking to the Senate floor this morning to do all he can to block the FISA-fix bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled for a vote. The bill contains a provision that would give retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that are alleged to have helped the government eavesdrop on phone call involving U.S. citizens even though they knew that there was no warrant, an idea that Dodd has promised to filibuster since mid-October.

According to the blog Firedoglake, during his filibuster, Dodd will be able to take “questions” from other senators, which can last as long as 20 minutes. So far, Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) have offered to help out by “asking” a 20-minute “question.” Last week Dodd, Kennedy and Feingold joined 11 other Senate Democrats in writing a letter (pdf) to Reid, urging him to begin a different FISA-fix bill to the floor — one that does not contain retroactive telecom immunity and has tougher oversight requirements for the secret court that oversees the government’s wiretapping activities. We’ll have to wait to see if any of the 11 step up to actually help Dodd block the bill. Of particular interest is what presidential front runners Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will do.

Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars are both soliciting comments that Dodd is planning to read on the Senate floor as part of his filibuster. So if you’ve got something you want read on C-SPAN2, go put it the threads.

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