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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Senate Passes FISA Bill With Telecom Immunity

The US Congress approved the compromise FISA bill with immunity for telecommunications companies included, back on June 20, 2008 with a vote of 293 to 129 with 13 not voting and then the Senate voted for cloture to discuss the bill before their fourth of July recess, with a vote of 80 to 15, bypassing a filibuster from those opposed to the bill that the Congressional negotiators worked months on to get passed the House.

Today the US Senate approved the FISA bill with the highly controversial immunity for telecommunications companies attached, over the objections to those opposed to the immunity attachment within the Senate and the active campaign from the left side of the blogosphere to force their Senators to vote against the bill.

(Roll call will be here)

[Update] Roll call is up and the FISA bill passed with a vote of 69 to 28. Barack Obama voted yes for the bill. [End Update]

The Senate opposition tried to propose an amendment to have Title II (Protections For Electronic Communications Service Providers) stricken from the FISA bill. This amendment proposed by Senator Chris Dodd was rejected by the Senate. That vote was 32 to 66.

The second one was the Specter Amdt. No. 5059- To limit retroactive immunity and that was rejected with a vote of 37 to 61.

The third was the Bingaman Amdt. No. 5066- To stay pending cases against certain telecommunications companies and that was rejected as well with a vote of 42 to 56, not enough votes to bypass a filibuster, where 60 votes are needed.

Then the Senate voted for cloture so they could get to the actual vote on the bill, that vote passed with a 72 to 26 vote and according to the roll call, Obama voted yeah on cloture.

President Bush has already indicated he will sign the bill that the House sent to the Senate so it is expected that this bill will now be signed into law.

Barack Obama has been suffering from massive criticism from his base for his stated support for the bill whether immunity ended up being stripped from it or not.

His original statement given immediately after the House passed it's compromise bill, Obama said, "while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's." The statement went on to detail a various improvements in the bill, but ended with a reluctant acknowledgment that he'll vote for it.

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program..."

That caused Obama's base to level massive criticisms towards him for his statement that he would try to strip immunity from the Senate version but if that did not happen he would vote for it, that he actually was forced to respond again to the criticisms from people on his very own website.

Expect the President to sign the bill within days thereby ending the chapter regarding the immunity for telecommunications companies, at least for the next few years.

(Note- The far left blogospherepreemptively started throwing their temper tantrums, knowing that the FISA bill was going to be passed)

That was before the actual vote, stay tuned for reactions afterwards.

Tons of reactions already coming out and probably a ton more to come. You can see them at memeorandum. The biggest whiner award goes to Greenwald, the man with constant diarrhea of the keyboard.