Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Senate Committee Vote Today on Domestic Spying

Assuming that Republican stalling tactics are unsuccessful, a vote should take place today in the Senate Intelligence Committee to determine whether or not a full investigation is launched into President Bush’s domestic spying program. The GOP has been working feverishly to both legalize the type of spying that Bush has already done on Americans without obtaining proper court orders and to scuttle any attempts to investigate the legality of the administration’s previous actions.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, is trying to derail a committee vote that is scheduled in closed session today on moving forward with a full Congressional investigation. With only a slight, majority edge on the committee, Republicans need have only one Senator side with the Democrats for such an investigation to proceed.

It is likely that GOP moderates Olympia Snowe (R-ME) or Chuck Hagel (R-NE) will vote with Democrats on the need for a full investigation.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has attempted to blackmail Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) by threatening to weaken Democratic presence on the Intelligence Committee unless Reid meets with him and agrees to call off the dogs on Bush’s illegal spying program.

"Let's have the Intelligence Committee do its work," Reid said. "I believe that we should see if Senator Roberts, who is a man of his word, is going to allow a vote on whether there should be an investigation. So when that' s completed ... I'll be happy to consider a meeting, but until then, what's there to meet about?"

Stay tuned as we see if Bush, Frist and Roberts are successful in yet another bid to neuter the oversight role of the United States Senate.