No Legislation Or Hard Work, Please. We're The 110th Congress.

By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in Comments (4) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

You know, it's one thing to disagree with certain proposed legislation. It's quite another to pull this stunt:

House Democrats canceled Tuesday's planned hearing with Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, prompting a rebuke from Republicans who want Congress to proceed quickly on updating a key surveillance law.

The cancellation of the hearing comes amid an uproar in Congress over Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's perceived lack of candor about a warrantless surveillance program and the Bush administration's insistence that reform of the court process governing the eavesdropping program is needed in the face of a heightened terrorist threat.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent out notice of the hearing's cancellation late Monday, noting that it had been postponed until after the August congressional recess.

The move prompted howls from House Republicans, who echoed administration assertions that the legislation to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, the legal authority for the eavesdropping program, is needed before the August recess because of its critical importance to U.S. national security.

"McConnell has even offered to conduct a FISA briefing for all members on this urgent priority," said one House GOP leadership release. "Do House Democratic leaders intend to take DNI McConnell up on his offer, or are they simply unwilling to allow DNI McConnell to air these concerns in public?"

There have been an awful lot of complaints concerning the summer vacation that Iraqi parliamentarians are going to take--the challenges their country faces notwithstanding. I agree with those who believe that a vacation on the part of the Iraqi MPs is ill-advised at this time, but if that vacation is going to be taken, I imagine that the MPs might just find themselves at the same resort as certain members of the 110th Congress.


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No Legislation Or Hard Work, Please. We're The 110th Congress. 4 Comments (0 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

We can now go another month without them screwing something up. The more meetings they have the more problems they create. Let them wind up and go play with their favorite lobbyists. Earmarks and Pork are a lot cheaper than Kennedy inspired legislation.

How many speeches by Democrat CongressCritters™ have we heard about the failure of Iraqis to govern themselves. How dare those Iraqi politicians take an August vacation before they meet our benchmarks. They won't get a bill passed that will divvy up oil money. Those lazy cads.

They can do that speech with a straight face when they are failing to do the work the US needs done. They dare take an August vacation before they get things done. They won't get a bill passed that will close a loophole in terrorist surveillance. Those lazy cads

Pot meet Kettle.

"We should scrap this “comprehensive” immigration bill and the whole debate until the government can show the American people that we have secured the borders -- or at least made great headway."
Fred Thompson

Let me try to understand.

In January just as the new congress was starting the administration caved and put the TSP under FISA management. In April DNI Mike McConnell raised the issue that tapping foreign conversations that get routed through the US and are intercepted here require a warrant. Does this mean we weren't tapping calls between Jan and now for these types of intercepts? Kudos to the DNI/WH for pressuring this change, but I can only shake my head that if it was this important why wasn't it done last year before the transfer to FISA so there would be no lapse in coverage.

From what I can tell everyone is in favor of allowing the above, but the administration is also seeking a number of other changes to FISA. Things like retroactive immunity to the phone companies for breaking the law, debate over who should monitor that American conversations aren't intercepted as HUGE numbers of purely internal calls will flow through these tapped switches (D's want FISA judges, R's want AG), etc...

The short term solution is to try to get something past this week that addresses the intercept issue only and leaves the rest until after Congress returns. This sounds good to me, and the WH agreed to a narrow bill with the expectation of a more comprehensive reform later. In this light, I fail to see how canceling a meeting that would only slow down the passage of this particular high priority item in the few days left is a bad thing...

1 of every 6 Senate roll-call votes in this session have been cloture votes. In other words, the GOP is filibustering multiple pieces of legislation.

There's also the question of conference committees. McConnell is playing games with legislation ALREADY APPROVED BY THE SENATE by refusing to name Republican Senators to the House/Senate conference committee that will reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Keep in mind that the Senate will have the opportunity to accept (or reject) the conference committee's final version before it goes to the President for signature. Delaying the production of a conference report is pure obstructionism.

Don't get me wrong; it's absolutely right to blast the minority for using parliamentary tricks to hold up legislation. It was wrong when the Democrats did it during their time in the minority, and it's wrong for the GOP to do it now.

Up-or-down votes, right?

Sure, you can point to the Congress and say "do-nothing," but it's important to acknowledge the MULTIPLE factors behind that performance.

If you think that "it's one thing to disagree" but "quite another to pull this stunt," what's your opinion of blocking legislation that has already passed the full Senate 96-2?

Both sides are playing delaying games, and I find it disgusting in every instance.

 
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