Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FISA without retroactive immunity?

This brightens my morning:

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the Bush administration is “now in a position where they want to talk about a possible compromise” on controversial electronic surveillance legislation, signaling a possible breakthrough in the stalled negotiations over the bill.

Hoyer said the White House was “surprised” that House Democrats had the votes to pass an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that did not include immunity for telecom companies who aided the government in the program. As a result, Hoyer said, the White House has been forced to rethink its position.

Both President Bush and congressional Republicans have been calling for the House to vote on a Senate-passed FISA update, which includes the immunity provisions for the telecom companies.

But House Democrats have refused, instead choosing to hold a vote on their own version. It remains unclear if, or when, a potential reconciliation of the two bills will take place.

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