Monday, March 20, 2006

Leahy, Jeffords Want Censure Debate To Prompt Second Try At Senate Investigation Of Warrantless Surveillance

Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords are advocating an investigation of President Bush's warrantless surveillance program, as a precursor to a vote on Sen. Russ Feingold's censure resolution.

Feingold's censure motion, introduced on March 13, accused Bush of violating the Constitution and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The basis of the concern: that the program circumvented rules that say the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before proceeding.

Leahy, a Democrat, and Jeffords, an Independent who often sides with Democrats, are making a second go at having the Senate investigate warrantless surveillance, after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted along party lines against such an investigation. Instead, Congressional Republicans cut a deal with the White House to provide Congressional oversight for warrantless surveillance.

“Sen. Feingold says he intended his resolution to prompt congressional investigations into the president’s actions on these issues. Republican leaders so far have been reluctant to allow that,” said David Carle, a Leahy spokesman. “Sen. Leahy believes in first things first, and the first thing is Congress doing its oversight duty in investigating the Bush administration’s illegal domestic wiretapping.”

***

JABBS has argued in favor of the censure -- and believes Americans of all political stripes should stand up in favor of a president following the law. Unfortunately, support for the censure has been minimal, with only Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) signing on to the measure, although other senators, such as Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) have said the censure motion should stimulate continued debate over the program.

As JABBS has noted, the White House claimed it had "inherent authority" to conduct such surveillance, but that argument was questionable, especially after the White House supported legislation from Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to "further codify" the surveillance program.

In other words, the White House wanted it both ways -- it wanted people to accept the program as legal, and to pass legislation to make it legal. That may sound illogical, but neither the White House nor Congressional Republicans seemed to care. As DeWine said, "We don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional."

10 Comments:

Anonymous Jeffersons Ghost said...

censure is just the beginning as Russ screams "the Emperor wears NO clothes" others will chime in if they're not all being blackmailed by secret surveillances over the past few years.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous flpoljunkie said...

Good move! Make Roberts justify refusing to hold Bush accountable. That is, Pat Roberts, Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and long time good buddy and protector of "Dead-eye Dick" Cheney.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

if the Republicans ignore the censure and block the new investigation plans, this isn't going anywhere until at least November.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous ClassWarrior said...

Ahhh, but meanwhile the discussion will continue... heatedly...
And that's only GOOD for us.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Canuckistanian said...

And the faster they shut it down, the worse it will be for them
Then there'll be some REAL impeachment talk.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous AuntiBush said...

Thank you Senators Leachy and Jeffords for backing-up Sen. Russ Feingold.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that the media does not report Feingold's backing support for the censure motion. If it did, most of the people would rally behind Feingold.
But instead all we get is a bunch of right-wing driven, bull shit about how this will devastate Feingold politically.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Savannah Progressive said...

You know, we have discussed this before.

In other threads, we discuss Censure, Impeachment, time and time again, and we always end up with the same answer.

We won't do it, because the spineless Beltway Dems think it's a bad idea politically.

The New Democratic Idea is to be more Conservative than the Fundies, We can do it smarter is our new motto.

We can violate your civil rights, we will just do it smarter. We will violate the Constitution, but will do it better? What kind of plan is that?

Time and again, I see all these posts cheering on an idea that WON'T come about, because our Beltway Dems are too cowardly to oppose the Repugniks for fear of being targeted by the Fundies, instead we suck up to the Fundies like children begging for a raise on our allowance.

We don't oppose them, we didn't oppose Roberts, Alito, Bankruptcy Reform, The War in Iraq, the Patriot Act, Womans Rights to choose, or any issue. I expect them to sound the call to raise taxes on the Poor, sick, and elderly from Senator Reid's office anytime now.

The way our Democrats in Washington are running to the Right, I half expect to see Zell Miller as the nominee in 2008. Zell is the one Democrat far more right wing, reactionary, and Fundie than even the Repugniks. In that case, our party would have the White House, but the Fundies would own the nation.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous radio4progressives said...

Good point.. Frustration is deeply shared..

3:02 PM  
Anonymous ClassWarrior said...

But hope is deeply shared too. And hope trumps frustration.
Never Give Up.

3:02 PM  

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