Wednesday, February 13, 2008

McConnell-Led Senate Overcomes "Obstructionism" Regarding FISA

The Courier-Journal should be writing an editorial that praises Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for helping achieve bipartisan consensus to overcome "obstructionism" with respect to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That is because last evening, as the National Association of Manufacturers explains, the Senate forged

[a] strong, bipartisan majority to pass S. 2248, allowing the legitimate use of foreign surveillance to protect Americans from being killed by terrorists. Senators of both parties also voted for retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that took their obligations as corporate citizens seriously, assisting in proper, legal intelligence gathering.

The roll count was 68-29, NAM reports:

Republicans: 48 yea, 0 nay, 1 absent (Graham of South Carolina) (Including Lieberman as a Democrat.

Democrats: 20 yea, 29 nay, 2 absent (Obama and Clinton)

This is not what is normally called a "largely party-line vote" as Reuters described it. A "largely party-line vote" is when one or two or, at most, three members of a party split with their partisan colleagues.

And how interesting that of the Democrats, only the presidential candidates missed the final vote. The vote occurred between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., hardly an inconvenient time.

Obama did vote on the cloture motion -- against -- which passed 69-29, which puts him on record as against the legislation.

Coming on the heels of the economic stimulus package, adopted by a bipartisan majority under the leadership of McConnell in the Senate, the FISA bill is another example of productive results that can happen in Washington when level-headed Democrats work with their Republican colleagues instead of grandstand for re-election (or the Democratic presidential nomination).

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