Harry Reid took a tougher stance then we've seen on the FISA battle on the hill today during the State of the Union preview speech at the National Press Club. He called out President Bush over his trying to force the bill to pass and pushing immunity for the telecoms. Reid wants there to be a debate on all the amendments. He's still playing it close to the vest on immunity, but probably playing it smart at this point. It still comes down to Monday.
Reid: The president has to make a decision. He's either going to extend the law, or he will…which is temporary in nature, or there will be no wiretapping. We have worked very hard to try to come up with a way to proceed on this but it's up to the President. The amendments that were offered in the Senate … they would have passed. The majority of the senate favored these amendments.
They refused to allow us to vote on what we call "Title 1' which is a procedural aspect of this, and then they never even dreamed of our going to the second part, which is the retroactive immunity. Which is…there is real controversy over that and there should be a vote in the United States senate as to whether or not there should be retroactive immunity. They won't give us one.
So again, it's up to the president. He can either continue the present law for an extended period of time, we would agree to two weeks, we would agree to a month, and we would agree to a longer period of time than that.
But it is up to the president. Does he want the law? It's up to him.
If it fails, he can give all the speeches he wants, including the State of the Union, about how we've stopped things, if he does that, it's disingenuous, and it's not true.
You can go to "giveemhellharry," and sign the petition: "If you care about your civil liberties and our national security, it is vital you tell your Senators to vote no on cloture Monday." (h/t MStoller)