As you know, the FISA Amendments Act has been being negotiated behind closed doors by Steny Hoyer, Kit Bond and friends for some time now. See here and here. Well, the action is coming a little faster than we all anticipated.
It now appears quite clear that either the House will vote on the War Funding Supplemental and then go to the FISA Amendments ACT or, and it is not clear at this time what the odds on this are, link the two bills and vote on both at the same time. Here is what we do know. House has finalized their war supplemental bill, and it appears to be a go for a vote tomorrow (Thursday). So, the best evidence is that the vote on FISA will be on Friday June 20, and may be as early as Thursday night. There is precious little time left to make our voices heard.
Here is what Liz Rose from the ACLU gave me for publication:
One thing bugging me is that we do not have the Hoyer draft and neither do reporters; and yet some reporters are believing every single word Hoyer says. Feingold, Leahy, Conyers do not have the draft; the only people who do have it are Rockefeller, Bond, and Hoyer. People who are for the proposal. And yet I have not yet heard anyone question why that is. No sunshine and no one demanding to see the details.
Plus, even if leadership will vote with us, and act like they are on our side, the truth is they control the calendar. Nothing happens unless they want it to. It is so cynical and calculating. And it seems that the unwritten story is that this whole FISA cave in is really all about the DCCC and their worries about freshmen dems getting re-elected. They are not afraid of terrorists — they are afraid of ads about terrorists. If they were really afraid of terrorists they would just extend the orders. But all they really want is to reward the big telco contributors and get more checks for their campaign coffers. It is all political.
But I think they are wrong. Fear mongering did not help Guiliani win. And remember how good the House Dems were when they stood up on FISA and said no to the senate bill?. I will keep you up to date. Thanks. Liz
She is right. We, and more importantly, the Constitution, are being sold out for rank political posturing. Pitiful state of affairs that.
Here is the latest scheduling information from the House I can find.
Subject: House Approps 2008
TRACK BILLS: House Approps 2008
Draft Bill — Fiscal 2008 War Supplemental Appropriations (House)
Official Title: Fiscal 2008 War Supplemental Appropriations (House)
Cosponsors: No reported cosponsors
Next Scheduled Action: June 19, 2008 — Scheduled action — House Rules Committee (Chairman Slaughter, D-N.Y.) will consider a rule for floor debate for pendiing legislation. Time TBA, H-313 Capitol Bldg. New
NEW on this bill
June 19, 2008 — Scheduled action — House Rules Committee (Chairman Slaughter, D-N.Y.) will consider a rule for floor debate for pendiing legislation. Time TBA, H-313 Capitol Bldg. New
So, for any Wheelers and Lakers, if you find better information, please post in the comments. Maybe we will have a longer period to act in, but history shows that we must assume the worst. That means the FISA vote, the big kahuna, is going to be Friday, and maybe even Thursday night. Heave Ho.