Russ Feingold’s amendment 3915 on use limits just failed, 40-56.
Next up is Feingold’s amendment 3913, which would ban reverse targeting of Americans.
Feingold’s reverse targeting amendment, 3913, has just failed as well. The vote was 38-57.
It’s my understanding that there will be no other roll call votes tonight, only voice votes. Up next appears to be Bond’s amendment 3941….and as I write this, Bond’s amendment 3941 passes by voice vote. It sets out the FISC standard of review and time limits for telecom objections to acquisition directives. I’m not quite sure what the content of this amendment was beyond that, but given it was offered by Bond & Rockefeller, you can safely guess that it doesn’t enhance oversight or curtail executive powers. [Small Update: Bond 3941 changes a review period from 30 to 90 days.]
So far, in three roll call votes on FISA amendments agreed to late last week to set vote totals required for passage, each amendment to improve the underlying SSCI bill has failed. The Democratic caucus has not held in these votes (the Cardin amendment was best, but lacked Senator Clinton’s presence and fell 11 votes short of passing). What we saw today is most likely to be what we will see on other amendments that require 50 votes, with 40 votes being unlikely in most instances.
I’m sad to say that the way things are heading, we will be left with a very bad SSCI bill being voted on this coming Tuesday, as the amendment process will not achieve any notable improvements as things are proceeding now. In some regards, we just don’t have the Democratic votes to pass amendments needed to improve the underlying bill. But that’s a small-bore concern here – part of the problem, but in no way an adequate explanation in whole.
The blame must lie at the feet of Senator Harry Reid for failing to negotiate achievable vote standards on the amendments that he might be able to hold the caucus together for, for failing to hold the caucus together on votes like tonight that only required a majority to pass, and, most of all, for bringing the SSCI bill as the underlying bill and not the better alternatives from the Judiciary Committee and the House.
The Senate will continue debating FISA amendments on Friday and Monday. All remaining amendments will be voted on this coming Tuesday. After the amendments are voted on, there will be a cloture vote, followed by a vote on final passage.
As we have a couple days before the next votes, now’s a great time to hit your Senators with emails asking them to support the Dodd-Feingold amendment to strip retroactive immunity from the underlying SSCI bill. Take action through CREDO’s email tool now and make sure the Senate hears us in the final days of this debate.
The roll call for Feingold 3915 is up; the final tally was 40-56. Voting “no,” with the GOP, were Democrats Bayh, Carper, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, and Pryor. Joe Lieberman also voted with the GOP. Senators Clinton, Obama, Ben Nelson, and McCain did not vote. McCain was in DC for CPAC today, so I’m not sure what his excuse for not voting is.
The roll call for Feigold 3913, on reverse targeting, is up. The amendment failed 38-57. Voting “no” with the Republicans were Democrats Feinstein, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, Lincoln, Pryor, Rockefeller, and Salazar. Once again, Joe Lieberman voted with the GOP. Absent from the vote were Senators Obama, Clinton, McCain, Ben Nelson, and Dorgan. Senator Clinton has missed all three roll call votes on FISA amendments thus far, while Senator Obama has missed two out of the three votes.