From the Washington Post:
The Democratic-controlled House last night approved and sent to President Bush for his signature legislation written by his intelligence advisers to enhance their ability to intercept the electronic communications of foreigners without a court order.
The Senate had passed the legislation Friday night after House Democrats failed to win enough votes to pass a narrower revision of a statute known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The original statute was enacted after the revelation of CIA abuses in the 1970s, and it required judicial oversight for most federal wiretapping conducted in the United States.
Privacy and civil liberties advocates, and many Democratic lawmakers, complained that the Bush administration’s revisions of the law could breach constitutional protections against government intrusion.
Democrats facing reelection next year in conservative districts helped propel the bill to a quick approval.
“There are a lot of people who felt we had to pass something,” said one angry Democratic lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of caucus discussions. “It was tantamount to being railroaded.”
In a sole substantial concession to Democrats, the administration agreed to a provision allowing the legislation to be reconsidered in six months.
Some House Democrats were still upset by what they saw as a deliberate scuttling by the White House of negotiations on a compromise bill. On Thursday, Democratic leaders reached what they believed was a deal with the government’s chief intelligence official, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, only to be presented with a new list of conditions at the last minute. The White House and McConnell have denied that a deal had been reached.
Civil liberties and privacy advocates and a majority of Democrats said the bill could allow the monitoring of virtually any calls, e-mails or other communications going overseas that originate in the United States, without a court order, if the government deems the recipient to be the target of a U.S. probe.
More worried about their own political futures than civil liberties, the enablers have decided that they want to give Alberto Gonzales even more power! Can somebody remind me why we wanted a majority in both houses?
41 Democrats voted yea, 2 Republicans voted nay. You can find the list here.
In the Senate, 16 Democrats kowtowed to the Rethugs. Here’s the list.