I recently posted
that Speaker Pelosi has requested that the Committees report to the House 'as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes,' legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)."Think Progress
has just reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D-NV) has delivered a letter today addressed to Sens. Patrick Leahy
(D-VT) and John Rockefeller
(D-WV), urging them to fix the FISA law
that was passed before Congress recessed:
I know both of you share my disappointment at the process that led to passage of the recent law, and at the flawed outcome itself, which you and I and many others strongly opposed. [...]
When the Senate reconvenes in September, I fully support your committees working expeditiously together and in a bipartisan manner to develop a longer-term statutory change that better serves American national security interests and comports with the Constitution and proper judicial and congressional oversight.
Like everyone else, I too am disappointed the Democrats have failed on this issue, and I am angered that the president has gained more power because of it.
I found that I could not agree with what some of the people said in the comments of the Think Progress
post, though. I sometimes grow disappointed in what some members of my own party say is a casual fashion.
"Oh, and now that the horse has left, could you close that barn door, please?" missmolly
A heartfelt comment, and I can agree with the author on an emotional level, but I don't think that she is really trying to describe actual situation, merely how it makes her feel.
"Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Steny Hoyer should both resign their leadership posts, sorry to say. There is just no excuse for allowing legislation that so blatantly violates our Fourth Amendments protections while bestowing such unchecked power on such untrustworthy characters in the Executive Branch. It’s as though MCA never happened." FOIA Gras
The author argues that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Steny Hoyer have the absolute power to direct all of the actions that take place in congress. Without even reviewing the nature of the U.S. Congress, logic itself dictates that this is not true. Why even have a congress if this is the case? In congress, decisions are made by the deliberation and voting of the whole body, not just the leaders.
"Um, you mean Reid is now railing against the law he and Nanci Pelosi just processed and passed?" Jason M. Hendler
A similar argument, equally foolish. Not all of the comments were like these, and I was particularly heartened to read what CaptainVideo said:
(The author quotes a previous comment:) "What are the odds Bush will sign such a change to this law? Zero."
The current law expires in 90 days. A new law will have to be passed to apply after that.
Instead of defeatist arguments about closing the barn after the cow has run off, it is essential to put as much pressure as possible on the Democrats in the Senate and House, AS WELL AS REPUBLICANS IN BLUE DISTRICTS, to make the revised law consistent with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. CaptainVideo
the only thing I would really add to what CaptainVideo
said is that the issue of Democrats that voted for the surveillance bill is what Taylor Marsh said on C-SPAN.
Marsh said that the reason so many red state Democrats voted for the surveillance bill was because they were deathly afraid of looking like they were soft on defense to their red state constituents. She said that this was about the best we were ever going to get out of any red state, and that the only alternative to this was another obstructionist Republican instead of a red state Democrat.
Our Democratic leadership is chipping away at a block of stone that the Republicans have been creating since before Bush came into office. Pelosi and Reid can only work with what they've got, and the reality of the situation is that not all Democrats are going to vote the same way on every issue. Let's try to remember that they have only been in control of congress since January, and it is only a slim lead at best.
If the president decides to veto legislation like the State Children's Health Insurance Program
and the bills that take away $16 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies,
then the Democratic congress will only be able to renew their efforts to pass this kind of legislation. This is not the fault of the Democratic leadership, but the fault of the Republican leadership. If Republican congressional leaders continue to stand behind this monster, then it's is the fault of their constituents if they stay in office. That's how it's supposed to work. (This bit of babble does not take election fraud
into account, of course.)
Pelosi has had some luck recently generating bipartisan majorities in the house. We are never going to get out of this mess without help from both sides of the aisle, and also without the help of both the blue state Democrats and the red state Democrats.