Now! We might have a showdown

by: Tim Tagaris

Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 14:05

Apologies for the lack of updates since the drama went down in the Senate -- I was trying to get my facts straight before writing.

Here's where we stand right now to the best of my knowledge.

There will be a cloture vote at 4:30 on Monday.  There are two potential outcomes here.

a.) Republicans get 60 votes.  In which case, there will only be one amendment pending to the final bill, and that is Feingold/Dodd on blanket warrants, I believe.  That will get tabled quite easily (much like Judiciary was today), and then the Intelligence Bill as we know it will get a a vote for final passage.

b.) We stop Republicans from getting 60 votes, and we're right back where we left off today -- with no agreement on whether or not there is a 50 or 60 vote threshold to pass amendments.

Why is this a big deal?

Well, because there are a number of amendments out there that would serve as "poison pills," forcing a presidential veto.  One or two of those might even get 50 votes (Feinstein's call to make FISA the exclusive means of electronic surveillance).

It's also worth noting that Dodd will object to any requirement that 60 votes be needed to pass an germane amendment, which would further muck up and extend the process.

Finally, I am hearing that we will have the votes necessary to stop the invocation of cloture, if only on the grounds that there has been no debate or opportunity by colleagues in the Senate to offer amendments.

But that's when it gets even more interesting ...

Monday is the State of the Union, and you can be sure this will be a major topic of the speech.  If one were cynical, they might conclude that Republicans wanted the President to go into the speech without a FISA revision for political purposes. 

What's more ... without an extension, this thing goes black on the 1st -- that's next Thursday.

If we are able to ward off the cloture vote, there is almost no way in hell a bill gets passed before that deadline.  None.  Not with all the amendments, debate, and Dodd filibuster pending.  Which makes it all the more likely that one of two more things will happen.

a.) There will be an extension of some kind.  Maybe a month, maybe two weeks ... we shall see.

b.) We have a real showdown on our hands:  No bill has been passed because Dems don't want to eavesdrop on terrorists vs. Republicans think its more important to give telecoms a free ride than to eavesdrop on terrorists.

Even more drama?  Ok.  Presidential style ...

Everyone is going to be in D.C. for the State of the Union Address, that is a given.  Which means, Obama and Clinton will actually have to vote (that's novel!).  What's more, they can show some real leadership by convincing their endorsers in the Senate (McCaskill, Nelson, Bayh) who voted to table Judiciary to stop the Republicans on Monday.

And if Republicans do manage to get sixty votes, a filibuster is certain to ensue in the subsequent 30 hours.  Which of them will stick around into the next day to support that effort?

So, that's what I think I know right now.  Will update with any additional information.

Tim Tagaris :: Now! We might have a showdown

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How are Dodd and his staffers holding up? (4.00 / 2)
My God, isn't it a novelty that we can actually count on a Democrat not folding!?

Also, any recommended online actions that I can plug into to bolster Dodd and pressure the right people?

John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

Ugh. (4.00 / 1)
I just sent a pissed off letter to McCaskill (I'm a MO voter).  I'm calling her office tomorrow. 

I'm so mad at her right now.

Go Dodd, go Feingold.  Stop this shit.

McCaskill disappoints (0.00 / 0)
I agree.  I started the day with low expectations. However, the biggest disappointment was that my senator - Claire McCaskill - voted to table/kill the Judiciary version of the bill. I don't know if it had to do with AT&T and Sprint presence here in Missouri, or with deference to that dinosaur Kit Bond. Any thoughts from other Missourians?

We really need to put the full court press on McCaskill tomorrow and Monday. I'm hoping it's not too late to convince her to come down on the right side of this issue.  I sent her a note via her Senate website.  I would encourage others to do the same:


But (0.00 / 0)
Isn't FISA -already- the exclusive means of electronic surveillance?

HRC/BO votes, maybe. Their endorsers? No way! n/t (0.00 / 0)
What's more, they can show some real leadership by convincing their endorsers in the Senate (McCaskill, Nelson, Bayh) who voted to table Judiciary to stop the Republicans on Monday.

Why don't they bounce Reid out on his ass?  Or, do they need 60 votes for that, too. 


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