5 September 2007 at 11:49:26 PM
WHO were the conservative Democrats who argued behind closed doors to pass the White House bill before going on vacay? Was Chet Edwards one of those who spoke for passing that travesty or did he merely vote for it without comment? And what will happen now that vacay is over? Will the Democrats reverse what they did or merely pay lip service to the constitution because they're scared of being painted as weak on terrorism?
"The most controversial matters are the ones that people use to form their opinions on their members of Congress," said Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), who voted for the administration's bill. "I do know within our caucus, and justifiably so, there are members who have a real distaste for some of the things the president has done. But to let that be the driving force for our actions to block the surveillance of someone and perhaps stop another attack like 9/11 would be unwise."
The administration's bill passed 227 to 183, with 41 Democrats joining all but two Republicans in favor.
Chet Edwards was one of those 41 Democrats who voted with Republicans.
In the Senate, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) are reviving their bill to give the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court exclusive authority over wiretapping, with new provisions to enhance the government's ability to tap e-mail and other modern forms of communication.
Because the January deadline will force legislative action, some Democrats are cautiously optimistic that they can prevail this time. "I'm hopeful. Am I sanguine? Certainly not," Nadler said.
But others are pessimistic. Hastings said that Congress will probably be consumed with the Iraq war through the fall. He predicted that administration officials will announce that the current permissive law has thwarted terrorist attacks and saved lives but will withhold details as classified.
"Then Bush walks all the way to the end of his administration with no changes," he said.
What is this saying? That the Democrats will not fight to change this?
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