President Bush on Foreign Intelligence Legislation

By February 14, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

From a South Lawn statement and news conference:

Our government has no greater responsibility than getting this work done, and there really is no excuse for letting this critical legislation expire. I urge congressional leaders to let the will of the House and the American people prevail, and vote on the Senate bill before adjourning for their recess. Failure to act would harm our ability to monitor new terrorist activities, and could reopen dangerous gaps in our intelligence. Failure to act would also make the private sector less willing to help us protect the country, and this is unacceptable. The House should not leave Washington without passing the Senate bill.

I am scheduled to leave tomorrow for a long-planned trip to five African nations. Moments ago, my staff informed the House leadership that I’m prepared to delay my departure, and stay in Washington with them, if it will help them complete their work on this critical bill.

The lives of countless Americans depend on our ability to monitor terrorist communications. Our intelligence professionals are working day and night to keep us safe, and they’re waiting to see whether Congress will give them the tools they need to succeed or tie their hands by failing to act. The American people are watching this debate, as well. They expect Congress to meet its responsibilities before they leave town on a recess.

The Senate bill, S. 2248, passed 68-29.

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