Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sources: Latest Senate FISA Bill Does Not Contain Telecom Immunity

Good Tentative News!--Pete

This is pretty big. As some people have been speculating today, aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have confirmed to me that the version of the FISA bill that was just reported out of the Judiciary Committee does not -- repeat, does not -- contain retroactive immunity for the telecom companies.

And a source close to Reid says that this is "most likely" the version that the Majority Leader will file a motion to proceed on. The aide declined to comment when this might happen, however, saying that it could happen next month.

All in all, it looks like a big victory for opponents of telecom immunity.

Late Update: Here's a bit more detail on what happened on the Judiciary Committee today. Sources say Senator Russ Feingold offered an amendment that would have stripped telecom immunity from the bill, but it was defeated. Then Senator Arlen Specter, the ranking GOPer on the committee, offered a "compromise" amendment saying that in these lawsuits the Federal government, and not the telecoms, would be the defendants.

But because of a procedural difficulty Specter's amendment wasn't voted on -- and Senator Patrick Leahy, the chair of the committee, essentially went around Specter's amendment and moved to have a vote to report the bill out of committee without any telecom immunity in it. That passed along strictly party lines. And that's where we are.

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