Paging Ed Fallon: Leonard Boswell may be making a big mistake, according to mcjoan’s diary on the fight over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. She says that “House Republicans will try to derail the effort to pass a 21 day extension of the existing surveillance law and force a vote on the Senate bill.”
She cites this piece in CQpolitics:
As the House turned to a 21-day extension of a temporary law governing electronic surveillance, Republicans prepared a motion to force a vote on the long-term version passed Tuesday by the Senate.
House Republicans engineered a series of procedural votes Wednesday in a bid to derail the Democrats’ proposed extension, which President Bush said he would veto. They argued that the House should simply take up and send to the White House a surveillance overhaul bill that the Senate passed by 68-29.
Because 21 conservative Blue Dog Democrats have endorsed the Senate-passed bill, Republicans might be able to win approval of the Senate bill through a motion to recommit the extension with instructions to amend it with the text of the Senate bill.
Yes, Boswell is in that group of 21 House Democrats. Not only that, the same 21 Democrats wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi on January 28, supporting retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies and other measures in the FISA bill that cleared the Senate.
mcjoan asked Daily Kos readers to contact the 21 Democrats. Here is the information for Boswell:
Phone: (202) 225-3806, Fax: (202) 225-5608
If you contact Boswell’s office, tell him to vote with House Democrats in support of the House version of the FISA bill, which is called the RESTORE Act.
Normally, I am not overly optimistic about calls to members of Congress making a difference, but Boswell is heading into a tough primary.
He can do the right thing for our civil liberties, which is also the smart move politically, or he can go with his fellow Blue Dogs giving cover to the Republican Party.
UPDATE: Paul Kiel has more on what happened in the House today. Boswell and the others don’t look like profiles in courage: