01.28.08

Senate Consideration Of The FISA Amendments Act Of 2007

“The Senate today rejected the tactics of obstructionism and delay employed by the Republican minority and the White House.  In refusing to allow the entire Senate the opportunity to openly and fairly debate the important issue of amending our surveillance laws, Republicans have brought to a screeching halt the Senate’s extensive efforts over the last several months to protect this country and the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans.  We worked closely with this administration to make improvements to the Judiciary Committee’s substitute that I introduced last week.  But we were not even allowed a straight up or down vote on those improvements.  The Republicans then refused to allow any consideration of additional, reasonable amendments designed to protect the American people from abuses of government power.

“At the same time, Republicans have rejected a simple, short-term extension of the legislation that the Minority Leader and the Vice-Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence authored and successfully pushed through Congress in August, under a cloud of fear and intimidation.  The President has threatened to veto legislation to extend the very law the White House so aggressively championed just six months ago.  The responsibility for the expiration of the Protect America Act falls squarely on the President and on those in the Senate who so ardently supported its passage last August.

“I said last week on the floor of the Senate that, as we consider amending FISA, we must eliminate grandstanding and partisan politics.  We must protect this country and the people who have elected us to serve.  When we do that, the United States wins, not the terrorists.  After today’s exercise, I hope the Senate can move forward to enact meaningful reform to our nation’s surveillance laws, in the best interests of the American people.”

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