The vote was 69-28. Way to go, you defenders of the Constitution! (That was snark, just in case anyone wondered.)
More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.
The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late. Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.
Senator Hope and Change voted Yea, while Senator She’s an Evil Corporate Minion of the Status Quo voted No. Gee, I’m stunned.
The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.
Not to worry, though. If you’re not doing anything wrong, this bill won’t affect you at all. Kit Bond says so:
But Senator Christopher S. Bond, the Missouri Republican who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there was nothing to fear in the bill “unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial.”
Our Alabama Senators covered us with glory, with Shelby voting Yea and Sessions not bothering to show up. I can’t believe Jeff wasn’t there to support his beloved W.
The roll call is here. I’m going to crack open a cold beer and pretend this is a bad dream.