Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources.
Disclosure of the deal followed a decision by House Democratic leaders to pull a competing version of the measure from the floor because they lacked the votes to prevail over Republican opponents and GOP parliamentary maneuvers.
The collapse marked the first time since Democrats took control of the chamber that a major bill was withdrawn from consideration before a scheduled vote. It was a victory for President Bush, whose aides lobbied heavily against the Democrats' bill, and an embarrassment for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had pushed for the measure's passage.
Why? Why would you do this, Democrats? What kind of gutless chickenshits do you have to be to sell out the 4th Amendment just so the least popular president in history won't call you names?
News flash: he's going to call you names anyway.
I swear to God, only the Democrats would watch their approval ratings slip to 11% and then conclude that it's because they haven't been caving enough.
Greenwald reflects on how utterly inappropriate of a use of congressional power this is, since it's basically Congress intervening in a number of active litigations asking the very same questions as Congress, at least one of which AT&T recently lost, on behalf of major campaign contributors Verizon and AT&T.
And here's Kagro X with the rundown of the wording of the law and all the backdoor dealings that went down between the telecoms and the government.
"I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." --Will Rogers