The House Dem leadership's surveillance bill just cleared the House by a vote of 213-197 with 1 vote of present. 12 Dems crossed the aisle to vote against it.I was encouraged to see that Matheson voted in support of the bill, despite what the Blue Dogs had to say about immunity in an earlier letter. Take a moment to applaud good behavior. I was surprised not at all that Bishop and Cannon opposed. More important to tow the line for the President and his talking-points than to make a principled stand in defense of civil liberties for these two.
The bill has stricter privacy safeguards than the Senate's version -- and of course does not contain a provision granting retroactive immunity for the telecoms' participation in the administration's warrantless wiretapping program.
As for what's next, it's over to the Senate where it's sure to undergo some modifications. In a statement earlier this week, Senate intelligence committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said that "considerable work remains" on reconciling the House's latest version and the Senate version. Rockefeller said he's willing to adopt a number of the House's provisions, including a much shorter sunset (2 years) on the law, but notably omitted the topic of immunity. Rockefeller supports blanket immunity for the telecoms.
This is still a long way from being over, but we are finally starting to see some backbone from Congressional Democrats against the President's disregard for the Constitution.