Reid Joins Feingold And Dodd In Opposing Telco Amnesty

Via ThinkProgress:

Unfortunately, the FISA compromise bill establishes a process where the likely outcome is immunity to the telecommunications carriers who participated in the Presidentís warrantless wiretapping program. Sen. Reid remains opposed to retroactive immunity, which undermines efforts to hold the Bush Administration accountable for violating the law. Thus, he will cosponsor the amendment offered by Senators Dodd and Feingold to strip out the immunity provision, and support their efforts to strip immunity on the floor.

Reid will put forward the legislation but it seems he will vote against cloture.

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    OMG....a spine transplant...so quickly? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:36:41 PM EST
    I sincerely hope it takes; and this gives me renewed hope for my senator.

    Really...why can't Dems play hardball... (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Aqua Blue on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:31:05 PM EST
    Republicans don't hesitate to fight like h#ll.

    Most of our Dems behave like wimps.

    If Dems would stand-up and fight instead of being scared most of the time, they would be running the country.   Voters want integrity and our pols just don't give it.  


    Well, there was this woman recently who (4.33 / 6) (#52)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:40:45 PM EST
    was trying to win the democratic presidential nomination....she is quite the fighter, knowledgeable, a real leader.  Perhaps you have heard of her....Hillary Clinton...she would have been out in front of this if she were the nominee.  Now we wait to see what she does...

    Standard @ss-covering Dems in Spelunking mode (5.00 / 11) (#49)
    by Ellie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:35:46 PM EST
    Deja vu all over again; their usual way of taking the heat off recent indefensible Dem cowardice:

    (1) Send one of the "leadership" out to feign impending action on an impending cave. Raise hopes of Dems acting like a genuine opposition.

    (2) Off-camera, cave as if the party's real name is The Lasceaux Society, DC division.

    (3) Anyone who's keeping score will note that a substantial number of Dems needlessly failed to be loyal to the party. (This is like the Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game In New York: a neat way of spreading the cowardice around amongst themselves and diffusing voter outrage.)

    (4) Pose the for the standard Evard Munch Oh No!post-cave photo-op and (pick one or more)

    • make noises about what meanies the Repugs are
    • protect the Dry Powder for a bigger fight
    • wait till we get the WH, ooh, man, then you'll see some spine!
    • Send more money. If only we had money. Money, send it. It, money send.

    No filibuster, no excuse.

    They have the Best Speech-maker Ever in their midst running against the worst President ever and the most loathed admin in history. It's their rendezvous with destiny.

    If Dems can't parley that into a victory, they're hapless bumbling nitwits who deserve to lose.


    Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:38:03 PM EST
    Am I really supposed to believe that telecom amnesty is becoming law over the objections of the rather moderate Democratic Leader?  I'm sorta skeptical on this one.

    What do you suggest he do? (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:58:46 PM EST
    You know who had real control? Nancy Pelosi.

    Reid has a majority depending on Joe Lieberman.


    He controls the calendar (5.00 / 6) (#25)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:10:19 PM EST
    If he doesn't want it to come up, it won't come up.

    By custom that is correct (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:18:57 PM EST
    But Reid has let his authority there fall asunder this session.

    Oh that' great....since when can Reid afford (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by Aqua Blue on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:37:32 PM EST
    to give up power.   He is incompetent as Speaker.

    And, I am sick of hearing about compromise.  Republicans only talk it up when they lose the majority of seats.

    Scr@w compromise.   Compromise will not save our nation.   Doubt that anything can now.  


    60 can force the issue (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:25:35 PM EST
    I think you and andgarden are simply wrong on the rules here.

    I can dig up the CRS on it for you, but (none / 0) (#51)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:37:36 PM EST
    but it's pretty widely known (by those who have a reason to know), that the Senate Majority Leader has the authority to call up (or not) items off of the calendar. It is by custom--there is no rule--but it was pretty ironclad until this session.

    Whether Reid would want to face the political costs is a different question.


    Ok, (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:49:35 PM EST
    here's Riddick's rules of Senate Procedure (warning, BIG PDF):

    Motions to proceed to the consideration of bills and resolutions on the Calendar are usually made by the Majority Leader or his designee who, as spokesman of his party and in consultation with his policy committee, implements and directs the legislative schedule and program.

    Whether or not... (none / 0) (#62)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:00:51 PM EST
    ... that's the case (I admit to not knowing the rules, and in the House, 218 members can force action through a discharge petition), it would require a dozen or so Democratic senators to essentially mutiny against Reid's management. I doubt that even the Dems who want most badly to vote for this thing would go that far.

    I agree that Reid is only doing what some of his caucus want, but he does have the effective power here.


    Where do you get 60? (none / 0) (#70)
    by talex on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 08:37:50 AM EST
    Can you count 60 votes to sustain a filibuster? NO.

    So why even make the argument?


    Shrug (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:27:50 PM EST
    If he opposes it?  Do this.

    I am suggesting that I doubt he seriously opposes it.  Sen. Reid is a consummate pol without many strong ideological convictions, and it is very unlike him to be out in front of his caucus on something like this.  That's all I'm saying.


    Yes, (none / 0) (#28)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:12:53 PM EST
    and this is an election year, and 80-something percent of people polled say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

    So I can see why Reid, who is not up for reelection says what he does.

    Obviously, the two-termers listen to the beat of a different drummer.  Even those who get reelected over and over and over and...


    Reading between the lines (5.00 / 10) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:40:40 PM EST
    That's not a spine on Reid. That's more like... I'll assist you two in throwing your amendment out there,  but I'm not going to keep anything from coming to a vote because this is already signed and sealed in the backroom.

    That's the way I see it too. (5.00 / 7) (#10)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:48:41 PM EST
    If the only way to stop telecom immunity is to put a hold on bill, as Republicans do for every bill they don't like, and he is not willing to do that, that I'd say the spine transplant got rejected by the host body.

    Off the table, Baby! (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by ineedalife on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:47:01 PM EST
    The leader of one of the houses of Congress openly talks about Bush violating the law but impeachment is still off the table. And why do we have to vote for Democrats?

    Hope Hillary Clinton doesn't have (5.00 / 8) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:48:44 PM EST
    to hold the reigns or scoop up the poop.

    "reins" (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:51:13 PM EST
    hillary won't have to if she speaks out (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:41:43 PM EST
    but of course the silence is deafening

    Ron Wyden will filibuster also (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by Newt on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:50:39 PM EST
    Wyden to Oppose Cloture for Wiretapping Bill

    It is not the role of Congress to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the courts. And while this bill offers the illusion of a fair judicial process, in reality, as the House Republican Leadership has noted, this is a mere `formality.'"

    For those of you who pooh poohed the calls to action on this, please take note that Oregon's senators have been deluged today with phone calls and emails on FISA.

    Wyden already promised to filibuster (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:54:01 PM EST
    Do you really think your phone calls are going to get Gordon Smith to join that effort?

    I wish you luck.

    At least you've got Wyden who is willing to go to bat. Neither one of my Democrats, Murray or Cantwell, has done a darned thing about civil liberties -- ever.


    And before you ask (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:54:53 PM EST
    Yes, I've called both of their offices.

    I called Gordon Smith as a centrist Independent (none / 0) (#26)
    by Newt on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:10:23 PM EST
    not a Democrat.  He knows he's about to be fired because he's been such a Bush rubber-stamper, so maybe he'll try to do something different with this.

    I also posted his contact info to a bunch of Oregon conservative mailing lists with some juicy anti-government lingo and a hint of what it'll be like for conservatives if the new Democratic President has this kind of power.  

    Gordon will be getting a few calls...


    So you're from Oregon? (none / 0) (#30)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:14:12 PM EST
    Explains a lot.

    Heh (none / 0) (#32)
    by Newt on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:18:38 PM EST
    Oregon, NY and Hawaii.  Oh and Wash & Calif, but no permanent residences there.

    I travel a lot.  


    Which state is your main (none / 0) (#37)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:21:14 PM EST
    residence? And which do you vote in?

    This year I voted in Oregon (none / 0) (#39)
    by Newt on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:23:38 PM EST
    I get my smarts from NY, my mellowness from Oregon, and my understanding of Obama from living in multicultural Hawaii.

    I've moved all over, too. (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:27:37 PM EST
    Moving around doesn't give you special insight.

    Obama continues to disappoint.


    Nor does it give you "claim" (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:31:55 PM EST
    to senators other than those you voted for when trying to continually inject them into a discussion about Obama not leading  ;)

    Apparently in 57 of the 58 states... :) (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:45:47 PM EST
    Good thing. . . (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:27:54 PM EST
    you don't get your smarts from Hawaii, your mellowness from NY, and your multi-cultural awareness from Oregon!

    You don't (none / 0) (#38)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:21:32 PM EST
    spend enough time in one place/position?

    Hillary represents me (none / 0) (#61)
    by Newt on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:00:28 PM EST
    as long as I still own property in NYS.  I'd live there except I hate the nasty, mean drivers.  Oregon is great in the summer, but the winters can be awful.  Hawaii is a blast, but the schools suck and my white skinned kids get told they're the root of all racial problems.  On the other hand, Hawaii drivers stop and wave pedestrians across the street, with a smile on their face as they do it!  Unlike NY where they swerve at you for sport, then honk at you for not jumping out of the way fast enough...  

    So Oregon it is, with trips to NY and Hawaii when I need to go make money.  We have Ron Wyden AND Peter DeFazio in Congress.  But then there's Gordon Smith and others like this jerk trying to replace Rep. Darlene Hooley.  


    Obama does not like filibusters (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:51:27 PM EST
    not gonna happen.

    He doesn't need the free TV time, but, (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:53:13 PM EST
    being a Constitutional law professor in his former life and banking on his oratorical skills, seems he should welcome the opportunity.  

    Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:46:14 PM EST
    1.  Being a constitutional law "professor" - NOpe.

    2.  Banking on his oratorical skills.  NOpe, not without a teleprompter.

    3.  Welcome the opportunity.  NOpe.  His "handlers" are keeping him under wraps on "issues" and things that are important to we the people.  WORM - and give him 24 hours and he'll get back to you with a POV.

    These statements (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:01:13 PM EST
    about how I support this part of the bill but I don't support this other part of the bill is giving me a headache. IMO, they should have just written the bill without retroactive immunity in it in the first place. Now, we get to play these little games of Senators voting for or against an amendment that will probably fail in the end.

    That's what I wondered. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by magisterludi on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:03:26 PM EST
    Is this a set up? Will Obama come out with a big floor speech, defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic?

    If that were to be the case, I wouldn't be at all disappointed in Obama. I'll take that kind of pandering any day.

    So here's the game plan. (5.00 / 9) (#29)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:14:12 PM EST
    There will be votes on a bunch of amendments. All of them will fail. They are pretty much designed to give some Democrats cover later on.

    There will be a cloture vote. It will almost certainly pass. Even Feingold concedes this one.

    There will be a vote on final passage. It will pass with a substantial majority. Quite a few Dems who vote in favor will claim that because they voted for some of the amendments, they did everything they could do. These people have a low opinion of our intelligence.

    But (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Coldblue on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:19:59 PM EST
    we will be united.



    Indeed. (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:24:06 PM EST
    They are pretty much designed to give some Democrats cover later on.

    So they can all run for office and pretend they stood for something.

    By all means, give these losers another raise.

    It gets worse.


    Leadership? (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:51:18 PM EST
    Pathetic.  Both houses.

    Dodd speaking now... (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Dawn Davenport on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:01:58 PM EST
    ...on c-span2.

    He's giving a great statement, not only against telecom immunity but also the bill's other provisions.

    OM (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by tek on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:23:14 PM EST
    Here we go again with too little too late.

    So, how many times have we played (5.00 / 7) (#66)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:24:10 PM EST
    this game?  I've lost count, actually.  The only thing missing here is the 1950's-era soap-opera music and the dramatically raised and slightly-scary raised eyebrow to make us all perch on the edges of our seats expecting something...GASP!...earth-shattering.

    The House is running this show, and Pelosi has drawn up a game plan and issued marching orders.  The usual players will play the usual roles, deliver their lines as expected, and be home for the weekend.

    The coda will be Obama letting us know that "no one has tried harder for the American people."

    I'd yawn except then I couldn't scream as well as I'd like to.

    Huzzah! (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by dmk47 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:46:08 PM EST
    Outstanding news! If Reid is behind this, we may just be able to put together a filibuster and kill this awful thing. And look, when you go over Obama's statement, he clearly (and deliberately) left himself wiggle room so that he could join the opposition if significant opposition materialized. That's hardly a profile in courage --- quite the opposite, it's pretty craven. On the other hand, if he votes with the good guys on this, I think his hedging is forgiveable provided you understand he's just a politician. It would confirm, e.g., that an Obama administration would never force Congress to consider atrocious anti-liberty legislation like this, which is a vast improvement on what McCain and the Republicans are offering.

    Does Reid "have a responsibility" (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:39:45 PM EST
    as Senate Majority Leader to permit the bill go to the Senate floor because the majority wants that to happen?  

    Traditionally, the Majority Leader controls (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:44:35 PM EST
    the calendar. In this Congress, Reid has not defended that authority, even allowing the Republicans the ability to call up their own Iraq war funding supplemental at one point.

    It's not entirely clear to me that his caucus would be in favor of this bill. In the House, which tends to have a more liberal caucus, most Democrats voted against it.


    Senate Majority Appeaser? (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:47:36 PM EST
    I think there are likely 60 votes (4.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 07:57:27 PM EST
    to bring it to the floor.

    I am not sure Reid can stop it coming to the floor.


    Doesn't matter (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:02:09 PM EST
    there's an update to that link

    UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced moments ago on the Senate floor that he would vote against FISA, but that he has an obligation to move legislation that the majority wants:

        I don't particularly like FISA, and I'm going to vote against FISA. But, I have an obligation here as the Majority Leader to move legislation that the majority of the body wants to go for


    BTW, what he says is false (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:20:09 PM EST
    Reid has no obligation to do what the majority of the body wants. He just doesn't care to deal with the acrimony of actually using his authority.

    That seems silly to me (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:24:46 PM EST
    Do you really think Reid has the leeway to ignore the 60 who will vote for the bill?

    I think you are totally misreading the situation.


    I'm not talking about the politics of it (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by andgarden on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:41:47 PM EST
    Just the Majority Leader's customary power.

    What kind of leader (none / 0) (#46)
    by pie on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:30:53 PM EST
    is Reid?

    Oops, sorry for the bad (none / 0) (#22)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:03:00 PM EST
    quoting there.

    Actually it does matter (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:03:27 PM EST
    He moved it because it was going to move.

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:10:33 PM EST
    It is a good bill without the (none / 0) (#34)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:19:44 PM EST
    immunity?  I may be missing something, but it seems to me it is not.

    No, but I think folks (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:46:42 PM EST
    are getting very excited because it seemed, for a second there, as if the Dems might have a spine on that one part of FISA.  

    I have to admit, when I saw Reid's quote above, I had a moment of temporary insanity where I thought it might mean that someone had stapled some spines onto enough the Senate Dems.  But don't worry, I've recovered, I know it'll never happen.

    But it goes to show how well conditioned many of us have been, that a mere whiff of meaningful opposition to one part of a wholly bad bill gets folks so excited.


    Yeah (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 08:58:47 PM EST
    it's that bad when a whiff will do ya. However, I'm past that stage and I've gone into the "show me the money" stage. I won't believe anything they say. I'll only believe they are going to do something when it actually happens. That's how jaded I've become in the last few years. To think I was actually excited about winning the house in 2006. Stupid me. It's also why I can't get too worked up about winning or losing the election in Nov.

    Heh (none / 0) (#69)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 10:48:13 PM EST
    It seems I'm not alone.

    Pelosi (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:04:02 PM EST
    Last week Pelosi said this would be wrapped up before the 4th of July. I'm sure both Pelosi and Reid know this has the votes necessary to stop any filibusters and pass easily.

    Last time an attempt to filibuster this came up it was shut down 76-10 to limit debate on the motion, far exceeding the 60 votes required.


    Ah, but has nothing to do with spine. (none / 0) (#71)
    by masslib on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 04:33:38 PM EST
    That's what is so God awful about all the commentary about the FISA bill by the bloggers.  They think the Dem's surrendered to something they are against.  I contend they are for the FISA legislation.

    The Only Bugaboo (none / 0) (#72)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 04:31:56 PM EST
    Was the telco immunity for almost all of them. Both Obama and Hillary, representing the center, argued that the FISA needed to be revamped but were against the immunity part.

    Immunity is the shiny (5.00 / 4) (#67)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:29:36 PM EST
    object they want us to focus our anger on so we don't notice how really bad the rest of the bill is.

    It's like a really bad magic act where the only things that keep disappearing are pieces of the Constitution.