Today is a big day in the Senate. Majority leader Harry Reid has decided not to honor Chris Dodd’s hold on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Dodd objects to a provision that would grant retroactive immunity to telecom companies that illegally helped the U.S. government spy on Americans.
For background on the issue and Dodd’s filibuster plans, see this diary by DavidNYC and this diary by drational. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a version of this bill that would not give retroactive immunity to telecoms, but unfortunately, Reid is going to introduce the version that came out of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which would grant immunity.
In light of some Senate Democrats’ inability to stand up to the Bush administration on a whole range of issues lately, I am not optimistic that we will find 41 votes to uphold Dodd’s filibuster. Or, to put it another way, I fear that the other side will easily get enough Democrats on board to reach the 60 votes needed to break Dodd’s filibuster.
But let’s all hope I am wrong.
Memo to Senators Clinton, Obama, and Biden, who often tout their leadership qualities on the stump: show us you’re a leader by standing with Dodd today.
UPDATE: Head over to Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com) and MyDD (www.mydd.com), where several posters and diarists are keeping us all up to date on what’s going on today in the Senate. Video clips of Dodd speaking on the Senate floor are at MyDD.
SECOND UPDATE: The maneuvering was a little confusing today, but Dodd was able to buy us some time as Harry Reid pulled consideration of this bill until next month. Watch Dodd explain who helped him accomplish this and what still needs to be done:
Thank you, Senator Dodd. He’s my second choice, and I will absolutely try to help him get a delegate in my precinct if I can do so without costing John Edwards a delegate.