Friday, August 03, 2007

Other Goings-On in Congress Today

The Senate voted, 60-28, late today to give President Bush authority to eavesdrop on foreign terror suspects (which had been barred by a FISA court because the messages were being routed through U.S. communications carriers) without court warrants for six months until they come up with a new plan. President Bush had promised to veto a Democratic alternative that would have required a court review within 15 days and said he'd keep Congress in session until they sent him a bill. The Democratic version of the bill had failed earlier in the House under rules that required a two-thirds majority for passage. They will likely vote on on the Senate version tomorrow before they recess for the month.

Meanwhile, the Post reports that the House has unanimously agreed to create a special select committee, with subpoena powers, to investigate Republican allegations that Democratic leaders had "stolen a victory from the House GOP on a parliamentary vote late Thursday night." Such committees are rare and in the past have been used for the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals. Does anyone think the Republicans would set up something like this if they were still the majority and accused of wrongdoing?

The House also voted, by a unanimous vote, to authorize additional funds for emergency repairs and reconstruction of the Interstate I-35 bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed.

In other Congress-related news, the Huffington Post praises the Green Jobs Act of 2007 whilst the Senate unveils global warming legislation and the House goes after private-equity firms and hedge funds.

UPDATE: The Senate also voted to direct $250 million to rebuild the collapsed Minnesota bridge; the House had to re-approve because the Senate version was slightly different.

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