FISA: Letting Surveillance Authority Hang in Limbo

By March 6, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

From CQ Politics:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Thursday that new legislation regulating electronic surveillance may come to the House floor next week, but would not commit to a vote before the Easter recess.

She called the bill that easily passed the Senate on Feb. 12 “not right,” and said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., continues talks with the Senate on how to meet House Democrats’ objections.

Does this strategy make any sense? Not for national security — obviously, it doesn’t — but politically?

Well, maybe if the goal is to mollify the angry leftist netroots, like blogger mffarrow at the DailyKos.

All we need in order to win on FISA is for the House to do nothing. No vote means “compromises,” no immunity, no unfettered governmental spying on its citizens.

I think this is our chance.

One really hopes that that attitude isn’t driving House debate…or lack thereof.

UPDATE (9:55 a.m. Friday): Speaker Pelosi is now talking “exclusivity” as the key issue. More generally, she says, House Democrats are “at the mercy of the 17 or 18 Democrats in the Senate who are voting with the Republicans on this.”

But…there are enough Democrats in the House who would vote for the Senate bill that it would pass. So who are they at the mercy of?

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