Leahy and Dodd Step Up

by: Matt Stoller

Thu Oct 18, 2007 at 15:43

By now you know Chris Dodd put a hold on the FISA bill granting amnesty to telecom companies.  That is awesome.

Pat Leahy is also starting to fight, from his perch in Judiciary.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday condemned Intelligence Committee Democrats for brokering a deal with the White House that would provide retroactive immunity for telephone companies that assisted the Bush administration's controversial warrantless wiretapping program.

At the second day of confirmation hearings for President Bush's Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey, Leahy warned that "the Intelligence Committee is about to cave on this," citing pressure from the White House and press reports suggesting the administration had gotten its way.

Administration officials] know that it was illegal conduct and that there is no saving grace for the president to say, 'Well, I was acting with authority,' " said Leahy. "Otherwise there wouldn't be so much pressure on us to immunize illegal conduct by either people acting within our government or within the private industry."

That Leahy heard about this in the press and from the White House might give you some idea of how poor the communication lines actually are in the Senate.  And then there's this, from Senator Feinstein.

Not all Democrats on the Judiciary Committee appeared to share Leahy's concerns. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sits on both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels, signaled she was likely to support the bipartisan approach.

"At this stage, it is a bipartisan bill," Feinstein said. "I'm absolutely convinced that the only way we can legislate on this is on a bipartisan basis. This bill so far is bipartisan - that's good news."

I guess that's the expectation.  So here we have Rockefeller and Feinstein versus Dodd and Leahy on amnesty for the telecom companies.

Matt Stoller :: Leahy and Dodd Step Up

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Bipartisan=good? (4.00 / 1)

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

dodd for pres (4.00 / 1)
i hope that this can establish dodd as the candidate with the  courage to fight for our consitution. he's taken a backseat to the "big 3" for too long. his fellow dems should be taking notes.

Primary Feinstein (4.00 / 1)
Feinstein is such a goddamn pig. The bill is good because it's "nonpartisan"? What kind of idiocy is that? Could we maybe focus on what the bill does instead of which of your cronies took the bribe?

Feinstein needs to move to the top of the list of Dems to be primaried. Does CA have recall for US senators?

Agreed! (0.00 / 0)
She snuck by us in 2006 that will NOT be the case next time.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
Next time is 2012 (0.00 / 0)
and the tiresome woman will be 80. Though I think the lobbyists and her war profiteer husband stuffed her long ago, I don't think she'll be in the mix.

Can it happen here?

[ Parent ]
Some have suggested Barbara Lee (0.00 / 0)
Like othrs who have commented, I think this may be an open seat next time.

If Arnold loses to Boxer, he may consider this opening as well.

[ Parent ]
Dodd is really (0.00 / 0)
impressive of late. We need leaders, and Dodd is showing the way. Go Dodd & Leahy!

One or two points (0.00 / 0)
I haven't been following the detailed back and forth on this but...

Is this about the WH having shown Intelligence stuff about the wiretapping malarkey which it hasn't shown Judiciary?

Do Leahy and Rockefeller have a history? Some collateral reason why Leahy should sound off so unfraternally at the R-Man? Or is it something institutional between the committees?

Is there some kind of Mutt and Jeff going on, with Leahy playing the fearless fighter for principle, to distract attention from, and take the edge off, the murky compromise that is bound to emerge some time or other?

(The fact that Leahy cites press reports doesn't necessarily mean that that's how he found out!)

I'd need a fair amount of convincing (with evidence) that this wasn't some kind of charade - though precisely what that might be, I'm not sure.

Can Leahy (0.00 / 0)
simply table hearings on the bill in the Judiciary Committee?

Don't think so (0.00 / 0)
If there are enough senators (60, plus reserves) prepared to clear every procedural obstacle placed in the way of the Rockefeller bill, then Leahy can't just sit on the bill.

A quick squint at Riddick's  (p802ff) suggests that a committee can be discharged from considering a bill by the passage of a resolution to that effect.

So, assuming Leahy withheld his consent to a unanimous consent agreement, there would be a need for cloture on both the motion to proceed to the resolution, and on the resolution itself.

Once the resolution was passed, overcoming resistance may similarly need cloture on the MTP and passage votes, together with passing motions to table unwanted amendments.

Especially with a recess less than a month away, even with 60 sure votes always available, the bill's managers may have an uphill struggle if every dilatory tactic is employed by opponents.

But opponents who did use every dilatory tactic would become very unpopular very soon: even Feingold knows the limits of patience for licensed bombthrowers, and sticks the right side of them!

[ Parent ]
The fact that Leahy SAID something (4.00 / 1)
don't mean diddly.  Leahy says a lot of good-sounding things.

Judge him by what he DOES.

Unfortunately, Pat DOES very little, if anything, to back up his nice-sounding words.

When was the last time you heard anything about those subpoenas that Pat issued and the WH ingnored?

Leahy has been my Senator for a long time, and I've come to the reluctant conclusion that the man is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Soldiers are required to do their jobs when politicians fail to do theirs.

Dianne Feinstein... (0.00 / 0)
  ...is the exception that proves the rule that every human life has intrinsic worth.

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


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