selise's blog


Looking back at FISA’s year in the House

July 11th, 2008 by selise
Representative Rush Holt

click to play YouTube

This diary is my attempt to document and deconstruct the political theater we’ve witnessed from the House of Representatives, and specifically its Democratic leadership, in amending FISA this past year – from the passage of the Protect America Act (PAA) in August 2007 through the passage of the so-called “compromise” FISA Amendments Act in June 2008.

Not only has the Democratic House leadership worked to pass bills that undermine our constitutional rights and prevent accountability for the Bush Administration’s illegal acts – in effect endorsing Nixon’s view that if the President says it’s legal that makes it so – they have explicitly rejected the principles of open, honest and responsive government in order to do it.

Part I is the timeline.

In Part II is the analysis: How did we get such bad legislation from a Democratically controlled Congress?

Finally, in Part III, are my conclusions and a proposal.

Acknowledgments: Many thanks to all my fellow commenters at FireDogLake, especially pow wow and Hugh, for their excellent analyses, discussions and frequent corrections during the past year.

PART I – The House Summary Timeline (7/2007 through 6/2008)

Notes: For the detailed complete timeline, please refer to the Appendix. For the prior analysis of the passage of the PAA last summer, please see my previous diary.

August 2007

  • S.1927, the Protect America Act (PAA), is passed by the House and Senate.

September 2007

  • Director of National Intelligence McConnell lies to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the role of the PAA in recent arrests of terrorism suspects in Germany.
  • President Bush, speaking at NSA headquarters, calls for telco liability protection.
  • McConnell lies to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) when he blames pre-PAA FISA for a delay in obtaining an emergency surveillance order after U.S. soldiers are captured in Iraq.

October 2007

  • H.R.3773, the Restore Act version 1 with no individual warrant requirement, is blocked in the House.

November 2007

  • H.R.3773, the Restore Act version 2, amended to required individual warrants, is passed by the House.

January 2008

  • Twenty one members of the Blue Dog Coalition send Speaker Pelosi a letter in support of the Rockefeller-Bond Senate bill S.2248 and retroactive immunity for the telcos.
  • Legal documents “necessary for considering retroactive immunity” from the Bush administration are received by House Democrats.

February 2008

  • S.2248, the Rockefeller-Bond Senate bill, is blocked in the House.
  • The PAA expires. The world does not end.
  • McConnell and Attorney General Mukasey lie in a letter to Chairman Silvestre Reyes when they claim that the telcos are refusing surveillance requests.

March 2008

  • The Quantico Circuit (a Verizon communications feed to the government) is revealed.
  • H.R.3773, the Restore Act version 3, is passed by the House.
  • Mukasey lies in a speech at the Commonwealth Club, blaming FISA for failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks.

April 2008

  • Republicans attempt a discharge petition to force the House to consider H.R.5440, a Republican bill with retroactive immunity.

June 2008

  • H.R.6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 containing effective immunity and limiting judicial oversight, is passed by the House.

PART II – Analysis

What Happened

Last summer, the House Leadership engineered swift passage of S.1927, the Protect America Act (PAA), while maintaining the pretense of fighting it with a bit of political theater and their own bill (H.R.3356). They were able to do this by: negotiating in secret with the DNI while cutting out ALL the civil liberties groups, keeping the text of the bill secret to prevent members of congress and citizens alike from even having as much as 24 hours to read the bill and organize resistance to it’s passage, scheduling the issue to be brought up just before the August recess and manipulating the procedures used to bring the bills to the floor for a vote.

H.R.3356 (the Democrat’s negotiated, not-so-bad alternative) was brought to a vote with the deck stacked against it under a suspension of House rules, meaning that passage required 2/3 votes, a procedure normally used for non-controversial measures. The administration bill, S.1927 (the PAA) was brought to a vote without a rule, using instead the very unusual procedure (for the House) of a unanimous consent agreement that allowed passage by simple majority. As a result, the Democrats’ own bill was blocked while the Republican PAA passed, 227-183, with a majority of the Democrats (41-181) voting against it.

Immediately after passage of the PAA, indeed that same night, Pelosi sent a letter to HJC Chairman John Conyers and HPSCI Chairman Silvestre Reyes requesting that their “committees send to the House, as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes, legislation which responds comprehensively to the Administration’s proposal while addressing the many deficiencies in S.1927.”

Hearings were held in the House and Senate over the month of September and on October 9, Rush Holt, chairman of the HPSCI Oversight Panel, introduced H.R.3782, the “FISA Modernization Act of 2007″ with targeted changes to FISA. On the same day, Conyers and Reyes introduced H.R.3773, the “Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007 (the RESTORE Act),” a modified version of the PAA.

The ACLU sent out a press release in support of Holt’s bill and that described serious flaws in the Conyers-Reyes bill: “Allowing blanket warrants to be reviewed only once a year by a secret court doesn’t come anywhere close to the rigorous privacy safeguards Americans deserve. We urge both committees to examine Representative Rush Holt’s bill, ‘The FISA Modernization Act of 2007’ if they are looking for legislation that can pass constitutional muster.”

Pelosi ignored Holt’s bill in order to push the RESTORE Act. One day after the two bills were submitted, both the HJC and HPSCI held markup hearings for the RESTORE Act but not Holt’s bill. During the HCSI markup hearing, Holt submitted 5 amendments, 4 were accepted correcting some of the bill’s most important flaws.

Commenter pow wow wrote, “I have to believe that the White House or the telecommunications companies re-arranged this language to achieve basically the same ends as the PAA, and John Conyers, Silvestre Reyes, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer then proceeded to force it through committee as “their” bill. …The FISA bill actually drafted by Members of Congress is the Rush Holt/John Tierney Intelligence Committee bill [H.R. 3782] which has been blocked from a hearing or a vote by the Democratic Committee Chairs apparently at the behest of the Speaker.”

Bush threatened a veto if retroactive immunity was not included.

On October 17, the RESTORE ACT was brought to the House floor for debate prior to a vote and Holt called for it’s defeat saying it lacked “ironclad language that maintains the Fourth Amendment’s individual warrant requirement when Americans’ property or communications are searched and seized by the government.” Holt also described how the process had been manipulated:

Yes, I voted “yes” in committee to bring this to the floor, with the assurances that we would work to get it better. I regret to say that I’ve seen no effort to resolve this point. It could be fixed easily to the safety of Americans, because Americans will be safer when agencies have to demonstrate to a court that they know what they are doing. We get better intelligence, just as we get better law enforcement, when you do it by the rules. In fact, my own leadership I believe would deny me time to speak on this issue to try to strengthen this bill, but for the sake of the security of Americans, I implore the leadership to make these improvements.

The House Leadership pulled the RESTORE Act after debate but before the vote due to pressure from progressives led by Rush Holt on individual warrants as well as Blue Dogs and a Republican threat to recommit.

Eventually, a group of progressive Representatives, led by Rush Holt, forced the House Leadership to modify the RESTORE Act with a manager’s amendment. On November 15, it was passed in the House 227-189 with the Democrats voting 222-5 in support.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to bring the House’s Restore Act to the floor and instead put forward the SSCI’s version of S.2248, “FISA Amendments Act of 2007,” the only proposal that included telco retroactive immunity and had the support of the Bush Administration. He chose the SSCI’s Rockefeller-Bond version after markup as the base bill over the Senate Judiciary Committee version which did not contain immunity. In December, passage of S.2248 was temporarily blocked by Senator Dodd, who had promised to filibuster any bill containing retroactive immunity.

At the end of January, with no FISA legislation yet passed by the Senate, and the PAA due to expire on February 1, a 15 day extension was passed by both Houses and signed by Bush.

On February 12 the SSCI’s Rockefeller-Bond bill, S.2248, was passed (cloture vote 69-9, final vote 69-29) and used to replace all original language of the House’s amended Restore Act, H.R.3773. Senate Republicans blocked sending the bill to conference committee, so the Senate bill was sent back to the House.

Under pressure from the Bush administration not to let the PAA expire and from the Blue Dogs to pass S.2248, the House leadership attempted to buy more time with another extension of the PAA, H.R.5349 (a 21 day PAA extension). This was defeated 191-229 when a small group of mostly progressive Democrats voted with the Republicans and their Blue dog allies who opposed the extension both to embarrass the Democrats and force the issue. This vote proved critical to derailing S.2248. The House leadership, unable to extend the PAA and angered by the Senate’s attempt to force acceptance of the Rockefeller-Bond bill, allowed the PAA to lapse.

In March the House Democrats showed what they could accomplish when motivated. With a combination of smart procedural moves and a unified message the House passed it’s best FISA bill of the year (another H.R.3773 amendment) 213-197 with the Democrats voting 213-12, prompting Glenn Greenwald to write:

As impressive as the House vote itself was, more impressive still was the floor debate which preceded it. I can’t recall ever watching a debate on the floor of either House of Congress that I found even remotely impressive — until today. One Democrat after the next — of all stripes — delivered impassioned, defiant speeches in defense of the rule of law, oversight on presidential eavesdropping, and safeguards on government spying. They swatted away the GOP’s fear-mongering claims with the dismissive contempt such tactics deserve…

Unfortunately, the House Democratic leadership could not leave well enough alone and in June 2008 it was revealed that the House leadership, led by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer but with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tacit backing, was working in secret with Republicans to draft another FISA modification bill. The tactics used were reminiscent of how the PAA, S.1927, was passed in August 2007: no hearings were held, the text of H.R.6304 was released for review the same day the House Rules Committee met in an emergency session to pass a closed Rule (no amendments allowed) on how the bill was to brought to the floor for a vote with debate was limited to one hour. The next day, with less than 24 hours for members to read a complicated piece of legislation (or to permit citizens to organize in opposition), H.R.6304 was pushed through passing 293-129 with a majority, 105-128, of the Democrats voting against the bill.

There was however, one striking difference. To pass H.R.6304, the House leadership dispensed with some of the political theater used in August 2007 to pass the PAA. This time they did not even pretend to be against the bill. Instead they falsely called it a “compromise”, used the rhetoric of right wing fear-mongering and appealed to the so-called “War on Terror” to justify their support for what was in essence a Republican bill.

If this bill is passed in the Senate, which seems likely, the Democratic 110th Congress will have succeeded in providing retroactive immunity to the telcos – something the Republican 109th Congress was unable to do. This legislation will legalize warrantless eavesdropping going forward and block lawsuits for past lawbreaking — protecting both the telcos and the Bush administration from revealing the extent of their illegal surveillance of Americans. As Glenn Greenwald wrote, “This isn’t just another bad bill. It marks a disgraceful end — a cover-up — of one of the most extreme Bush lawbreaking scandals (combined with legalization of many of the criminal acts), and it is a disgraceful conclusion for which Democrats are largely responsible.”

Connecting the dots

Looking at the past year’s six critical FISA votes in the House, several patterns emerge:

  1. 08/04/07 – S.1927 passed 227-183 (Rs for: 186-2, Ds against: 41-181)
  2. 10/17/07 – H.R.3773 pulled prior to a vote
  3. 11/15/07 – H.R.3773 passed 227-189 (Rs against: 5-184, Ds for: 222-5)
  4. 02/13/08 – H.R.5349 failed 191-229 (Rs against: 0-195, Ds for: 191-34)
  5. 03/14/08 – H.R.3773 passed 213-197 (Rs against: 0-185, Ds for: 213-12)
  6. 06/20/08 – H.R.6304 passed 293-129 (Rs for: 188-1, Ds against: 105-128)

These six votes, or near vote in the case of the 10/17/07 consideration of version 1 of the RESTORE Act, fall into three categories of two instances each: 3&5 are pretty good bills that passed, 2&4 are bad bills that were successfully blocked and 1&6 are bad bills that passed.

3&5, the good bills that passed: Both had a majority of the Democrats voting in favor of passage. In fact, these are the only two votes that have a majority of Democrats prevailing. Another point they have in common is that the text of the bill was made available more than 24 hours prior to the vote.

2&4, the bad bills that were successfully blocked: Both were blocked when Republicans, trying to give the Democratic leadership trouble, were joined by progressive Democrats who wanted to block a bill they did not support. In both cases, blocking the bad bill was followed by passage of a good bill that had the support of a majority of Democrats.

1&6, the bad bills that passed: Both were passed with a majority of Republicans and a minority of the Democrats. Of the four bills that passed, only these two were passed contrary to the votes of a majority of Democrats – indicating that either the Democratic House leadership negotiated with Republicans to pass a Republican bill against the wishes of a majority of their own caucus, or these votes were staged votes in order to maintain the pretense that a majority of House Democrats opposed these bills when indeed they did not.

I favor the explanation that the passage of the worst bills – the PAA, S.1927 in August 2007 and the H.R.6304 in June 2008 – were staged votes as it seems unlikely that a leadership so willing to work against the wishes of a majority of their own caucus would long survive.

As an aside, I hope that someone does a parallel analysis of the Senate actions this year with regard to the various FISA bills and amendments because it seems that they have their own version of deceptive political theater. For example, whenever I call Majority Leader Reid’s office to ask his position on a current piece of FISA legislation, I’m always told that Senator Reid opposes telco retroactive immunity. However, this is hard to believe. Since November 2007, Senator Reid has had the option of bringing 5 FISA bills to the Senate floor (H.R.3773 that passed in the House on 11/17/07, SSCI’s S.2248, SJC’s S.2248, H.3773 that passed in the House on 3/14/08 and H.R.6304). Only 2 of these bills contain provision for retroactive immunity (SSCI’s S.2248 and H.R.6304) — and these were the only two bills that Reid brought to the Senate floor. These are not the actions of someone genuinely opposed to retroactive immunity.

There is one more important point to make about how the House leadership was able to get both the PAA, S.1927, and H.R.6304 passed against the wishes of not only a majority of their Democratic constituents, but also against the wishes of a majority of voters in general. The House leadership has repeatedly:

  • negotiated in secret with Republicans while cutting out ALL the civil liberties groups and indeed citizens from any participation.
  • kept the text of the bills secret to prevent members of congress and citizens alike from even having as much as 24 hours to read the bill and organize resistance to it’s passage.
  • scheduled the legislation to be brought up before a recess.

Let’s compare these actions to the promises that were made at the beginning of the 110th Congress as described in this press release from Pelosi’s office (my bolds): ‘We Will Create the Most Open and Honest Government in History’

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York, and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, unveiled Democrats’ “Honest Leadership, Open Government Act,” which will restore honesty, integrity, and openness to government. Below are Pelosi’s remarks as prepared. “Good afternoon. It is fitting that we gather in the building of the Library of Congress named for Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence. Today, Democrats are here to make a Declaration of Independence from special interests. – snip – “That is why, with our Democratic Declaration of Honest Leadership and Open Government, we are pledging to enact and enforce legislation that will:

  • Ban all gifts and travel from lobbyists. Period.
  • Kill the K Street Project, the Republican plan that trades favors for lobbying jobs, and toughen public disclosure of lobbyist activity.
  • Remove the revolving door by doubling the amount of time Members and staff are prohibited from going from legislating to lobbying. Stop legislators from negotiating legislation, while also negotiating employment contracts for themselves with those who benefit from that legislation. Keep former Members who are lobbyists off the floor of Congress.
  • Next we would end the ‘dead of night’ special interest provisions that turn bills into special-interest giveaways. Lawmakers must have the opportunity to read every bill before they vote on it. It’s common sense.

- snip – “Taken together, Democratic proposals will lead this country in a new direction, put an end to business as usual, and make certain this nation’s leaders serve the people’s interest, not the special interests. “Ours must be a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ That means all of the American people. Republicans have made it a government of, by, and for a few of the people. America can do better. We can and we will. With this agenda, Democrats will create the most open and honest government in history, and put power back where it belongs – in the hands of all the people. Together, America can do better.”

Sadly, not only has the Democratic House leadership worked to pass Republican bills that undermine our constitutional rights and prevent accountability for the Bush Administration’s illegal acts — in effect resurrecting and endorsing Nixon’s view that if the President says it’s legal that makes it so, without regard for what the law or Constitution actually say — they have explicitly rejected the principles of open, honest and responsive government in order to do it.

PART III – Conclusions/Speculation and a Proposal

Conclusions & Speculation

What motivated Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership to cover up Bush administration law breaking, to put our constitutional rights through the shredder, to repudiate their promises of open government – and basically frustrate and anger the base of their party four months before a presidential election at a time when the Democratic Congress was already more popular with Republicans than with Democrats?

Some possible explanations are:

  1. They responded to heavy lobbying and money from the telcos who want the suits against them dropped
  2. They want to take the issue off the table for the coming election season and to “run to the center” in order to “prove” their national security bona fides.
  3. They think bipartisan “compromise” even if it means capitulation makes them look strong and effective.
  4. They agree with the Bush administration – that the executive branch ought to be able to spy on citizens without genuine oversight from either the judicial branch or apparently even the legislative branch
  5. The cover up extends to them and revealing Bush administration lawbreaking would be embarrassing to Democrats as well as Republicans.

Let’s take each of these in turn. First, on the issue of telco lobbying, bmaz has argued convincingly that while the telcos would of course like to avoid the lawsuits that alone can not explain the the year long push for immunity by either the Republicans or the Rockefeller faction of the Democrats.

…the telcos are not in any grave danger financially from the civil suits currently pending. If their conduct is as has been described to date, they are already protected from liability for the actions that have been described, both by existing statutory immunity and by a right to indemnification from the government.

This furious push has been about immunity, from the start, to prevent discovery of the Administration’s blatant and unconscionable criminal activity. The House of Representatives, and the cave-in Administration cover-up specialists in the Senate as well, should take a long, hard look at what is really going on here and steadfastly refuse the Administration’s self serving craven grab for the cover of telco immunity.

Second, on the issue of the Democrat’s desire to be seen as “strong” on National Security, Glenn Greenwald has destroyed this argument. He shows that this is obsolete thinking and that it “ignores the extreme shifts in public opinion generally regarding how our country has been governed over the last seven years.” Furthermore, Glenn demonstrates that “moving to the center” in order to appear “strong” is actually counter productive:

…isn’t the perception that Obama is abandoning his own core beliefs — or, worse, that he has none — a much greater political danger than a failure to move to the so-called “Center” by suddenly adopting Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies? As a result of Obama’s reversal on FISA, his very noticeable change in approach regarding Israel, his conspicuous embrace of the Scalia/Thomas view in recent Supreme Court cases, and a general shift in tone, a very strong media narrative is arising that Obama is abandoning his core beliefs for political gain. That narrative — that he’s afraid to stand by his own beliefs — appears far more likely to result in a perception that Obama is “Weak” than a refusal to embrace Bush/Cheney national security positions. What’s most amazing about the unexamined premise that Democrats must “move to the Center” (i.e., adopt GOP views) is that this is the same advice Democrats have been following over and over and which keeps leading to their abject failure.

Next, does the House leadership agree with the Bush administration that the executive branch ought to be able to spy on citizens without genuine oversight from either the judicial branch or apparently even the legislative branch? This explanation, I think, has some merit. The Bush administration has repeatedly lied and withheld information, and yet the House leadership has continued to negotiate with them while freezing out its base and civil liberties groups (ACLU, EFF, bloggers, etc). This is less about bipartisanship and more about a genuine shared purpose for an executive branch with the power to secretly spy on anyone or everyone. This view is supported by the possibility, as suggested by MadDog, that the telco lawsuits may put this project at risk. From EFF:

EFF and others have long suspected that one reason the White House and its allies have fought for telecom immunity so fervently has been their fear that a judicial ruling on the legality of telecoms’ participation would lead to a ruling rejecting the legality of the Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program itself. Today, the Director of National Intelligence McConnell and Attorney General Mukasey confirmed as much in a letter opposing amendments to the FISA bill. The DNI and AG wrote that allowing a court to rule on the constitutionality of the Administration’s arguments for warrantless wiretapping “is unacceptable.” They argue that “the aim of the amendment appears to be an adjudication of the Government’s prior actions,” and that “by requiring a merits adjudication of the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims” the proposed amendment “would significantly negate a major purpose of the retroactive liability protections”…

Finally, does the House leadership’s willingness to aid in the coverup reflect a desire to avoid embarrassing, or worse, revelations regarding its own complicity? Although it is not known how much information was shared, some Democrats were briefed at various times about the Bush administration’s illegal eavesdropping program (apparently as well as the administration’s torture programs). Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of those briefed – either in her prior role as House Minority Leader or as Chair of the HPSCI – but she was not only Democrat included in the briefings (see gang of 8 and gang of 4).

The most likely explanation, based on what we now know, is that the House Democratic leadership has gone along with the Bush administration’s policy of warrantless eavesdropping – out of fear and/or in genuine agreement – and does not want its supporting role revealed but does want the policies of warrantless wiretapping and telco immunity. Perhaps claims regarding national security and bipartisanship are meant to obscure this.

One further point that needs to be made is that none of this can be legitimately justified on national security grounds. The House Democratic leadership has already demonstrated their lack of concern for national security when they chose Silvestre “is Al Qaeda Sunni or Shia?” Reyes to be Chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, passing over other candidates such Rush Holt a former “arms control expert at the U.S. State Department where he monitored the nuclear programs of countries such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union” and a physicist with the training to understand the technical aspects of our intelligence systems.

A Proposal

It is tempting, given the level of betrayal by the House (and Senate) leadership on FISA, to consider withdrawing support from all Democrats. However, I think this is just as flawed a response as are calls to continue to support all or even most Democrats because there are few good ones who were willing to fight for good legislation and against telco immunity and unconstitutional policies.

We have another option – to support those Democrats who have earned our support and to withdraw our support from those who have not. But how to discern who deserves our support and who does not? This is difficult, and I think the desired result of much of the kabuki we’ve witnessed – but it’s not impossible.

First, we have the vote on H.R.6304. However, since this was in large measure a sham vote, we can not directly tell which of the “NO” votes really represents opposition to the bill. For that we need to look at events earlier in the year.

Twice this past year some members of the progressive caucus (and others like Rush Holt) challenged their own party’s leadership to kill a bad FISA bill. The first time this happened was on October 17, 2007 when, among other things, progressives including Rush Holt refused to back the leadership’s bill, forcing the bill to be withdrawn and improved (compare these two YouTubes of Rush Holt speaking from the House Floor on October 17, 2007 and on November 15, 2007). Unfortunately, since the bill was withdrawn before a vote was taken, we don’t know exactly who opposed it – this time.

The second time however, there was a vote. On February 13, 2008 the House leadership attempted a second extension of the PAA, this time for 21 days. It was defeated when progressives and others like Rush Holt (YouTube) joined with the Republicans (and some Blue Dogs) to vote against it. The difficulty with this vote is that we don’t know which Democrats voted against the extension because they joined with Republicans to play games and which Democrats genuinely opposed it. The defeat of this PAA extension derailed the Senate’s SSCI bill because once the PAA expired and nothing horrible happened, it removed the urgency from the rush to pass a bill that included immunity for the telcos.

Below is the list of all Democrats who didn’t vote for the PAA extension in February (either by voting “NO” or by not voting) AND who voted “NO” on H.R.6304 AND who voted “NO” on the PAA, S.1927, in August of 2007. Donna Edwards and Jackie Speier are also included because they weren’t in Congress in February and Donna Edwards in particular campaigned against bad FISA legislation. Membership in the Blue Dog coalition (BD) and the Progressive Caucus (P) is noted.

This analysis leaves us with 31 30 Democrats (and 1 Republican). I submit that, for people who care about this issue as a top priority, these are the Democrats in the House of Representatives who deserve our support:

  1. voted against H.R.6304 and against the PAA extension in February:
    • Michael Capuano (D-MA) – P
    • Jerry Costello (D-IL)
    • Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
    • Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
    • Bob Filner (D-CA) – P
    • John Hall (D-NY) – P
    • Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) – P
    • Rush Holt (D-NJ) – (*)
    • Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) – P(*)
    • Barbara Lee (D-CA) – P(*)
    • John Lewis (D-GA) – P
    • James Moran (D-VA)
    • Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
    • Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
    • Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
    • Donald Payne (D-NJ) – P
    • Steven Rothman (D-NJ)
    • Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) – BD
    • John Sarbanes (D-MD)
    • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) – P(*)
    • Jose Serrano (D-NY) – P
    • Tom Udall (D-NM) – P
    • Timothy Walz (D-MN)
    • Maxine Waters (D-CA) – P
    • Melvin Watt (D-NC) – P
    • Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) – P(*)
    • David Wu (D-OR)
  2. voted against H.R.6304 and did not vote on the PAA extension in February:
    • Mike Honda (D-CA) – P
    • Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
  3. voted against H.R.6304 and was not in congress for the vote on the PAA extension in February:
    • Donna Edwards (D-MD)
    • Jackie Speier (D-CA)


  1. Republican Tim Johnson (R-IL) voted NO on H.R.6304 and NO on the PAA, S.1927
  2. (*) Rush Holt while not a member of the Progressive Caucus gets special mention for fighting harder than anyone else in Congress on this issue. Co-sponsors of Holt’s H.R.3782 are identified with “(*)”.
  3. Co-sponsors of Holt’s H.R.3782 not otherwise on the list, might also be considered for inclusion, if they were among those who helped block passage of H.R.3773 on October 17, 2007 in support of Holt’s amendment: John Tierney (MA-6), Diane Watson (CA-33), Jerrold Nadler (NY-8), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Danny Davis (IL-7), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Robert Wexler (FL-19).

When examined carefully, the past year’s worth of political theater, orchestrated and performed by the majority of the House Democrats, can begin to show us the level of corruption and dishonesty exhibited by our Representatives. While it is profoundly depressing, we are better off knowing who are our real allies in these matters – so we can support their efforts and no longer be fooled by others who attempt to confuse and deceive us.

As for those who have demonstrated they are not allies? Mary wisely counsels:

What they do is to take the base for granted and act to pick up those who are not in the base. So if you want to have any negotiating power, you have to be something other than the base. You have to be the votes that they have to work to capture, not the givens. And that means being willing to not be captured if they aren’t going to come through, IMO. Which means you have to be committed to the long haul, not the short run

Appendix – The House Detailed Timeline (7/2007 through 6/2008)

NOTE: The Appendix is too long to be included in this diary. It is included in a separate diary: “Looking back at FISA’s year in the House – Appendix



07/12/08 – see wigwam’s diary: Obama’s FISA reversal and the FISA timeline
07/12/08 – see nahant’s related post: 4th Amendment Hit Squad
07/13/08 – see Hugh’s related item #12 in Hugh’s List of Bush Scandals
07/13/08 – corrected a few typos and added a few links
07/13/08 – added link to Appendix diary for detailed timeline
07/13/08 – correction from rdlafond who pointed out that Walz had voted for the PAA in August 2007. Walz was stricken from the list and the additional criteria of a “NO” vote on the PAA, S.1927, was added.
07/15/08 – information on cosponsors for Holt’s H.R.3782 was added.

x-posted at dailykos

Leave a Reply

Note: Captcha is not required for registered members' comments (register here).