FISA Reform Legislation – Senate Judiciary Committee proposal preferable to Senate Intelligence Committee version
ALA has just learned that a critical Senate vote is scheduled for this Monday afternoon, January 28, at 4:30 p.m. that would cut off Senate debate on the preferable Senate Judiciary Committee’s version of the FISA Amendments Act, S. 2248.
Library supporters are asked to call their Senators between now and late Monday to ask all to vote NO on Senator McConnell’s expected cloture petition to cut off debate. Cloture would cut off debate too soon, before other favorable civil liberties amendments could be voted on. (If the office is closed, leave a message.)
There are two proposals before the Senate on FISA reform: one from the Judiciary Committee and another from the Intelligence Committee. The Judiciary Committee version of S. 2248, among other things, denies amnesty for telephone companies that allowed wiretapping without court orders and re-establishes judicial oversight of the Executive Branch actions in this area. Meanwhile, the Intelligence Committee version of S. 2248 was negotiated with the White House; it would provide wider leeway for intelligence investigations by the Executive Branch without the necessary judicial oversight.
ALA, like many other civil liberties groups, supports the Judiciary Committee version because it is more balanced in providing oversight and denies the Executive Branch ever wider authorities, without judicial oversight, to conduct warrantless searches and other intrusions into privacy and civil liberties.
While all Senators need to hear from library supporters, the following senators voted on Thursday, January 24, to close debate on the preferred Judiciary bill. They should be especially targeted to vote against cloture now so that debate can continue.
Bayh – Indiana
Carper – Delaware
Inouye – Hawaii
Johnson – South Dakota
Landrieu – Louisiana
Lieberman – Connecticut
McCaskill – Missouri
Mikulski – Maryland
Nelson – Florida
Nelson – Nebraska
Pryor – Arkansas
Salazar – Colorado
Call individual Senate offices or the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.