Get Ready (OR The longest 6 months ever)

June 19, 2008

Earlier, I mentioned that I sent an email to Speaker Pelosi.

I also sent a similar message to Rep. Mark Udall. Since I’m one of his constituents, I received a reply:

Dear Shane:

Thank you for telling me you oppose shielding telecommunications companies from lawsuits related to their cooperation with federal authorities as part of the Bush Administration’s program to intercept suspected terrorist phone traffic. I appreciate hearing from you.

President Bush has asked Congress to include such a shield in legislation to extend the law that temporarily authorized some electronic surveillance to obtain important intelligence information. In November, 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 3773) to extend this surveillance authority through 2009 that did not include such a provision. I voted for that bill. In February, just before expiration of the temporary law, the Senate passed a bill including the shield the president sought. To provide time to resolve differences, the House considered a bill again extending the temporary law. I voted for it, but no Republicans did, so it was defeated and the temporary law expired. On March 14, I voted for a new bill that was passed by the House. It differs regarding the lawsuits, which have been stalled by the Bush Administration’s claim no court can hear them because they involve “state secrets.” The new House bill would allow the companies to defend themselves by freeing them from this barrier so they can try to convince the court they should not be penalized for whatever actions they took. I think that is a fair way to resolve the matter. Differences between the House and Senate versions still must be resolved, and I do not know what action may be taken next. But I will keep your views in mind.

Thanks again for contacting me. To do my job well, I need to hear critical feedback from my fellow Coloradans. For more information about my positions, please visit my website at and sign up for my email newsletter

And that pretty much seals it…  the new FISA bill is going to pass. Hopefully, it’ll get stuck in the Senate for 6 months. Cross your fingers.