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As alluded to in Booman23's diary, Progressives appear poised to lose a major battle on FISA.  Not because Republicans hold a Senate Majority, but because Harry Reid may be about to capitulate to the Administration, again.

Harry Reid spoke on the floor of the Senate this morning describing how he will introduce the new FISA revision bill in a way to advance Bush's plan to provide TelCo amnesty and limit surveillance oversight protections.

Reid was not explicit about which version he would introduce, but implied that he will advance the SSCI bill, which contains Amnesty for TelCos and limited oversight, and the SJC version would be an amendment (requiring 60 votes to get rid of Amnesty).  Cloture will occur on Monday.

This he does in defiance of Senator Dodd's hold request, and a letter from all of the Democratic Presidential Candidates currently in the Senate.

Update: Please read the last paragraph below for some more thoughts about how this might not be all bad....

The Democratic Party is Dysfunctional.
Harry Reid appears to be working for the GOP, rather than the American People.
Progressives continue to be ignored.

But most ominous, The Democratic Party leadership has just ignored the demands of ALL OF THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, not to subvert our Civil Liberties.

If our Presdiential candidates cannot gather enough support within their own Party to effect policy when their Party is a Congressional Majority, how on earth can Democrats expect to win the Presidency?

This fight was predicted by Karl Rove in his departing interview with the WSJ in August:

Mr. Rove also said he expects the president's approval rating to rise again, and that conditions in Iraq will improve as the U.S. military surge continues. He said he expects Democrats to be divided this fall in the battle over warrantless wiretapping, while the budget battle -- and a series of presidential vetoes -- should help Republicans gain an edge on spending restraint and taxes.

I wish Democrats were not so predictable.


ACLU Emergency Action Item
Please Call your Senator.

When you call your senators, say something like this:
I am a constituent calling about FISA. I urge the Senator ____ to vote NO on the Intelligence Committee bill, anything resembling the Protect America Act or any bill that grants immunity to telecommunications companies that broke the law over the past six years. If the senator wants to know where Americans stand on warrantless spying and telecom immunity, they should read the poll at


Reid's office has confirmed to Commenter Selise at FDL the impression that I got from listening to Reid on the Senate Floor this morning:  Reid will advance the SSCI version (Amnesty) this afternoon.

just confirmed by a aide in reid’s office (who’s been very helpful in the past):

I’m told that this afternoon Reid intends to bring a motion to proceed under regular order for the Intelligence committee’s FISA bill. The Judicary bill is pending legislation. Since Senator Dodd has a hold on the intelligence committee version of the bill, there will be a motion to invoke cloture. The cloture vote is expected to be held one hour after the Senate begins on Monday (since Saturday will be a work day for the Senate, and there is a 2 day wait after filing for cloture). 60 votes will be required for the cloture vote on the Intelligence bill Monday. If it passes, then amendments will be considered (Senator Specter’s bill, the Judiciary Bill, and/or others). Controversial amendments will require 60 votes to pass. 30 hours later, on Wednesday, the final vote will be taken.


important note: nothing is for sure until it actually happens. let’s get those calls in!


Reid's concession to Dodd is Monday's Cloture vote.
This means that Dodd's filibuster is on.  The Senate will need 60 votes for cloture before they can start to debate the SSCI bill's Amendments.  This means the GOP needs Lieberman plus 9 Democrats to start for getting a bill that includes Amnesty.
If they get it, stripping Amnesty as an amendment (Such as the SJC version, or Specter's semi-amnesty amendment) will require 60 votes.  If cloture is reached Monday over the objection of Dodd and the Dem Leaders, then Amnesty is a done deal.

Because all the Dem presidential candidates have publicly objected to Amnesty, this blockage of cloture will be a MAJOR test of the leadership of Dodd, Clinton, Biden and Obama.

I laughed at this optimistic comment below, but maybe, just maybe, this is a stunt to prove that Democrats can unite behind the presidential candidate leadership and Defeat cloture.  If SSCI version is defeated, then perhaps the SJC version will be advanced next and Amnesty will be defeated....  Could this be political maneuvering to prove the Democrats have spines after all?

Call your Dem Senators to oppose cloture on the SSCI FISA Bill!!!!!

Originally posted to drational on Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 07:10 AM PST.

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