The dynamic duo is so oppose to transparency, and so ready to set extremely dangerous precedent of cutting the courts out of secrecy decision by legislative fiat, that they say the will shut down the Senate [sub. required] to see that the torture photos remain secret.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened to hold up any and all legislation in the Senate until Congress passes its legislation to prohibit the release of photos showing detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We’re not going to do any more business in the Senate," Graham said. "Nothing’s going forward until we get this right."
The House has rebelled, rightfully feeling that they need to do their job correctly by, at the very least, holding hearings on this extreme piece of legislation:
The Huffington Post confirmed Monday night that Lieberman-Graham had been removed from the bill in conference. Antiwar Democrats who oppose the IMF funding can compromise on that issue, Frank said, but Lieberman-Graham, which would supersede the Freedom of Information Act, is different.
"I believe it would be possible to get people to switch. I'll switch, others will switch. But not if that FOIA thing is in there," he said. "This is a bill that nobody's had a chance to debate."
He adds, "This has got nothing to do with the Appropriations budget. The IMF does. The IMF's spending. Whatever happened to procedural regularity?" He's right, it's got nothing to do with procedural regularity, but that's the Senate for you.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said he agrees with Graham's contention that the photo bill has broad support in the Senate, and that he would be willing to keep voting with Graham and Lieberman until the photo bill becomes law. He did, however, add that he supports the IMF funding and will weigh those priorities closely. "Let's just see what kind of support there is before we make those decisions," Nelson said.
"To me, it's a life and death bill," Graham said, after confirming that a filibuster is on the table. He said the White House has not only been supportive, but hands-on in the crafting of the FOIA exemption. "They had us write the language," he said. "They've been very, very helpful."
Is this the fight the White House really wants to have right now? Does President Obama really want to create a massive showdown between the House and the Senate over a bill that is so antithetical to all his promises of transparency? So antithetical to the processes of government and checks and balances? This bill exists onluy to expressly allow the President to conceal evidence of war crimes (torture) and to block the Supreme Court from ruling (as two federal courts have already held) that the Freedom of Information Act compels disclosure of those photographs.
With the major and critical fights coming this summer over economic and energy policy, and particularly over health care, does President Obama really want to be lining up with the Republicans on an issue this controversial? Mr. Obama, tell your friends to drop this fight, and let the Court do its job.
Update: Discussion ongoing in Muzikal203's diary.