Hillary on Passage of FISA Bill Today

Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton missed the final FISA vote today -- they were the only Senators, along with Sen. Graham, to miss it. It occurred between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The vote was 68 to 29, so it wouldn't have mattered had they been there. Both were present to vote with Sen. Dodd against cloture a few weeks ago and Obama was present this morning to vote on the Amendment.

Hillary Clinton released this statement on the FISA vote today:

"I believe we need to modernize our surveillance laws and give our nation’s intelligence professionals the tools they need to fight terrorism and to make our country more secure. At the same time, smart, balanced reform must also protect the rights and civil liberties of Americans. In my opinion, the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 falls short of these goals, and for that reason, I oppose the bill.


As I have maintained for months, I oppose the provision contained in the bill that grants blanket retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that allegedly cooperated in the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. I believe granting retroactive immunity under these circumstances is wrong and undermines accountability. To that end, I have supported and cosponsored Senator Dodd’s strong efforts to strip this provision from the FISA bill, and was discouraged to see the amendment fail by such a significant margin.

Over the past seven years, the Bush Administration has blatantly and systematically disregarded Americans' civil liberties. It cannot be trusted to protect Americans’ privacy rights. That is why I strongly believe we need to pass balanced legislation that protects our civil liberties and the rule of law while giving our law enforcement and intelligence agencies the tools they need to protect our country."

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    to the new commenter (1.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 11:05:57 PM EST
    who posted twice saying I didn't reference Obama's vote this morning on the amendment, your comment has been deleted twice...don't post it again.

    on kos obama is listed as voting (none / 0) (#1)
    by charlie on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:47:01 PM EST
    On Kos Obama is on the list of those Senators who were present and voted. Are you sure your information is right?

    I linked to the official roll call vote (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:49:49 PM EST
    Obama probably left before the vote.

    I'm confused (none / 0) (#8)
    by andreww on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:56:54 PM EST
    BTD posted that Obama voted against it and Hillary was absent.  Was there multiple rounds of voting?

    yes (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:58:51 PM EST
    there was the vote on the amendment and then the vote on the entire bill. He was there for the vote on the amendment, not the bill. I linked to the actual roll call vote on the passage of the bill.

    update your post (none / 0) (#20)
    by charlie on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:01:21 PM EST
    Since the real issue was the Dodd amendment, shouldnn't you correct your post? Your post gives the impressionn that Obama and Clinton were equally remiss when in fact it is she that copped out and he showed for the vote that mattered.

    Not so (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:05:39 PM EST
    my post is clear. We wrote earlier today on the telecom immunity amendment and noted Hillary was not there but Obama was. As Big Tent Democrat pointed out, neither one led on this issue.

    I just added Obama's presence this morning again for you. And noted that Sen. Graham was also absent.


    Thanks... (none / 0) (#29)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:10:46 PM EST
    ... I do think that the updated post gives a more accurate picture of what occurred.

    vote wasn't close (none / 0) (#25)
    by wasabi on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:06:54 PM EST
    The Majority Whip counts the votes before the vote is taken.  I am sure if the count was close, they both could have been there for it.

    Yes (none / 0) (#13)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:59:23 PM EST
    I think Obama was there for the vote on Dodd's amendment that would strip the immunity provisions out.

    He missed the vote on the immunity granting GOP alternative.


    Or What Jeralyn Said (none / 0) (#15)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:59:44 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#18)
    by s5 on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:00:59 PM EST
    There was the vote against the telecom immunity amendment (which Obama voted correctly on, while Clinton did not vote) and the vote for the final bill, which Obama did not vote on.

    The fight was over telecom immunity, and he voted correctly. Technically Jeralyn is correct by saying he missed the final vote, but it omits the important part of what happened today: Obama stood up for Dodd's fight, Clinton did not, and McCain sided with the police state.


    see my comment (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:07:26 PM EST
    he voted on the amendment (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:57:21 PM EST
    re: telecom immunity this morning, which lost. The entire bill was voted on and passed this afternoon, he wasn't there for that.

    Is this from Clinton or Bush? (none / 0) (#2)
    by po on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:49:08 PM EST
    "I believe we need to modernize our surveillance laws and give our nation's intelligence professionals the tools they need to fight terrorism and to make our country more secure"

    What?!?  Is she serious?  FISA reform should have NEVER been an issue this past year.  That the Democrats feel for this "fight" and then didn't even bother to throw a punch is so pathetic.  FISA was fine.  Bush just wanted more and when (or is it before, we'll never know) he was told no he did it anyway.  Thus, the need for the fix which is really no fix at all.  Just another power grab in Washington DC.  Paid for again by you and me.

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:51:10 PM EST
    and have written many times, FISA ain't broke, don't fix it. That's why I haven't written a lot lately about this new bill. It was a choice between bad and worse.

    I Thought There Were Some (none / 0) (#21)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:01:24 PM EST
    Technical and technology fixes they wanted to make to it.  Things that were fairly non-controversial, but I may be misremembering.  Then, of course, the Republicans load it down with a bunch of unconstitutional crap and the Dems cave in a show of bipartisan unity.  As they always do.  And they wonder why people think they're weak.

    one issue (none / 0) (#19)
    by Nasarius on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:01:01 PM EST
    As even Glenn Greenwald will tell you, the issue of foreign to foreign calls being routed through the US needed to be resolved. But yes, that kind of rhetoric is unfortunate. It's embarrassing that nearly every Democrat feels the need to preface any criticism with "I'm not a terrorist! Really!"

    Yes! (none / 0) (#23)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:05:38 PM EST
    That was the fix I was thinking of.

    And I don't blame any of them for the rhetoric.  I wish they would change it, I think Democrats would be better off in the long run and should've started doing that a year ago, but I understand why they don't in the middle of a presidential election, especially with McCain running around calling them surrender monkeys, especially a woman or black man who wants to be CinC, especially when one of them represents New York.  


    Why not require warrants (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 11:21:20 PM EST
    for calls between Canadians, which is most of the "routed through" calls in question? Sure, not required by the 4th Amendment, but still good policy, and worth protecting by statute. I'm surprised thgere hasn't been a bigger stink from Canada.

    i believe... (none / 0) (#6)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:56:09 PM EST
    ... there were two votes today.

    Obama voted in the first one, but not the second.

    The first vote was the important vote, which was the one on the Dodd amendment.  The second vote was on the bill without the failed Dodd amendment.  

    But they were NOT the only two to not vote on the second one.  Sen. Graham did not vote either.

    Thank you for the clarification (none / 0) (#16)
    by andreww on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:59:49 PM EST
    So Obama was present and voted against giving immunity.  Hillary was absent for this vote.  Both missed the vote on the FISA bill itself which did give immunity.

    Jeralyn, I believe your post to be mistakenly misleading.  In the interest of accuracy I think you should update it.  Just my opinion.


    done (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:08:55 PM EST
    although if you read our earlier post, we noted Obama's presence and Hillary's absence.

    Thanks J. (none / 0) (#33)
    by andreww on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:15:51 PM EST
    They were both equally important (none / 0) (#27)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:08:00 PM EST
    the first would've stripped the immunity (important)

    the second enacted the bill with the immunity in it (important)

    I'm not blaming Obama for missing the second vote.  Neither his vote or Clinton's mattered on either issue, the Republicans had already gotten enough cross over votes to seal the deal.

    This thing was done the minute Harry Reid agreed to an up and down vote on the amendment and the bill.  

    The entire thing is disgraceful for both Democrats and Republicans.


    exactly (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:11:00 PM EST
    the vote that could have changed it was the one a few weeks ago on cloture and both showed up for that, even though it lost. The telecom immunity amendment this morning lost by such a huge margin, it wouldn't have mattered. Same for the final vote this afternoon that enacted the bill.

    The dems caved, and as Big Tent said, neither Hillary nor Obama were leaders on this.


    here's the list (none / 0) (#14)
    by ceabaird on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 09:59:33 PM EST
    For the final vote, go here

    interesting (none / 0) (#36)
    by ceabaird on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:52:24 PM EST
    disappearing comments.

    Wrong link (none / 0) (#17)
    by GV on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:00:15 PM EST
    Obama was present for the vote that mattered: the Dodd amendment removing retroactive immunity from the FISA bill.  After that vote failed, he left, and the entire bill was then voted on.  That being said, I don't think it really matters that Hillary wasn't there to vote.  She spoke out against the bill on the day the vote was taken, so that's enough for me to give her a free pass.  

    That is not the only vote that mattered (3.00 / 2) (#32)
    by BDB on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:14:08 PM EST
    They both mattered.  Had the second bill failed to pass then there wouldn't be a Senate bill with immunity in it.  Just as if Dodd's amendment had passed, there wouldn't be a Senate bill with immunity in it.  

    Both votes were equally important.  Both mattered in stopping telecom immunity.

    And had Clinton been there for the first and second votes, the outcome would've been the same.  Had Obama been there for the second vote, the outcome would've been the same.

    This is not about Clinton v. Obama.  There's no winner in this thing between the two of them.  Obama is not some FISA hero, while Clinton is a traitor.  They both supported the right thing, but neither fought or risked any of their political capital to make it happen.  

    Face it, Senate Dems let us down today.  Mostly the leadership and cross-over traitors, but not one of them - including Dodd, who I give more credit than most - went to the mat and insisted on filibustering or put together a coalition of Senators to pressure Reid to stop it.  Trying to paint Obama as some sort of hero here, just makes it very clear how low a standard you hold him to.


    RE: (none / 0) (#34)
    by GV on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:30:52 PM EST
    Perhaps you could point to where I tried to paint Obama as "some sort of hero"?  Or are you just completely misrepresenting what I just wrote?  

    The second vote was a foregone conclusion once the first vote was cast.  Thus, it was the first vote that mattered.  The second vote simply became a rubber stamp on what had already been essentially decided.  No one was going to change their vote from the first to second vote.  


    Just a thought (none / 0) (#39)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 12:01:47 AM EST
    But don't you think the great one who inspires, could have used the venues to get his flock to call their Senators? Don't you think that would have been a good use of the powers? Just thinking out loud.

    Opinion (none / 0) (#40)
    by LarryE on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 03:05:18 AM EST
    I really don't blame Clinton or Obama for not being there for the vote on final passage; once cloture was invoked it was a foregone conclusion.

    However, I am quite upset with Clinton for not being there for the cloture vote. True, it would have made no difference but that was the place to take a stand not just in words but in physical presence. I'm very disappointed.

    Just a point of fact. (none / 0) (#43)
    by TPC on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 09:21:34 AM EST
    I recognize BTD made this general statement earlier on the Dodd Amendment.

    Obama voted in favor. Clinton was not there. Neither has led on this issue or any other in the Senate.

    Not quite sure what the basis is for "neither has lead" but...

    Clinton was not present to vote on the critial amendment (Dodd Amendment S. 3907), which would have removed the amnesty provisions from the final FISA bill (S. 2248 FISA Amendments Act of 2007). Barack Obama was present and voted in favor of the Dodd Amendment.

    The Dodd Amendment failed on a 67 to 31 vote and one could argue after the fact that it would not have mattered if either were present. However, before voting began on all the FISA related amendments, there was no guaranteed way of knowing how the voting would turn out.

    Reasonable guessing would have likely indicated a potential loss on S. 2248, but until after several amendments failed prior to S. 2248, one could not have made an educated guess on the final outcome. If (that's a big if) the votes had been close leading up to S. 2248, Clinton's vote may have been critical. But that is moot. She had already planned to miss the voting regardless of what the potential outcome may have been.

    Even John McCain participated in voting on the amendments yesterday, which was about the only time he has voted in approximately one year.

    For what it's worth, I think it makes both of them look bad to the base to miss part or all of the votes on such a critical issue.

    I'm still not getting why (none / 0) (#44)
    by tnthorpe on Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 09:00:34 PM EST
    a lame duck president, unpopular in the extreme, having been caught illegally spying, having been shown to induce communications corps to go along with it for huge financial reward and a wholly unmerited promise of immunity, is himself rewarded with immunity for his lawlessness.

    I'm so disgusted by the Dems pathetic performance and its total contradiction of all the primary hype about change and experience.

    Is there a point to this party right now?