WASHINGTON , May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following release by Michelle Oddis of HUMAN EVENTS was issued today by the Office of House Republican Whip Roy Blunt:
The single most important piece of national security legislation -- legislation that if ignored will put American lives at great risk -- languishes in the House because "Blue Dog" Democrats have apparently decided to abandon their campaign promises to be strong on national security and kowtow to Nancy Pelosi .
On Jan 28 , twenty-one Blue Dogs signed a letter urging Speaker Pelosi to move forward with bi-partisan FISA legislation in the House in the same form that had passed the Senate in October. "The Rockefeller-Bond FISA legislation contains satisfactory language addressing all these issues and we would fully support that measure should it ready the house floor without substantial change," they wrote.
In their letter the Blue Dogs even highlighted that FISA legislation should include targeted immunity for carriers that participate in anti-terrorism surveillance programs, a provision that is contested among their Democrat colleagues.
It is also "critical that we update the FISA laws in a timely matter," said the letter because "the consequences of not passing such a measure could place our national security at risk."
Pelosi ignored the Blue Dogs' letter and refused to bring the Senate bill to the House floor despite the obvious fact that it would have passed by a simple majority vote. She continues to keep the bill buried even after an urgent request from Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence J.M McConnell .
In March, before another Pelosi recess, the Democratic leadership pushed through a 213-197 vote on FISA legislation that they knew would not pass the Senate because it did not include immunity for telecommunication carriers, a provision that President Bush has said is vital to the legislation.
"Companies that may have helped us save lives should be thanked for their patriotic service, not subjected to billion dollar lawsuits that will make them less willing to help in the future," said Bush. "The House bill may be good for class action trial lawyers, but it would be terrible for the United States."
Freshman Blue Dogs Heath Schuler (D-NC) and Chris Carney (D-PA) -- who signed the letter to Pelosi -- stood by their convictions and voted against the House bill. Nick Lampson , another Blue Dog (who did not sign the letter) also voted against it. But 14 who had signed the letter folded and voted in favor of the Pelosi bill.
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) who signed the letter and then voted for Pelosi's bill has already been targeted for his hypocrisy by Defense of Democracies Action Fund (a non partisan advocacy group) that has been airing radio spots in his district. The others who voted for the Pelosi bill should expect the same. Especially now that ALL of the so-called "national security" Blue Dogs are refusing to support an independent effort to break Pelosi's stranglehold on the FISA bill and bring it to the House floor.
Now, two months later, Reps. Schuler, Carney and Lampson (and even the other 14 Blue Lapdogs who voted for Pelosi's bill) are getting another chance to redeem themselves and their campaign promises. Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Vito Fosella (R-NY) have begun circulating a discharge petition, a move that could force Speaker Pelosi to move the Senate version of the FISA legislation to the House floor to be debated and voted on.
Republican Whip Roy Blunt even sent Rep. Carney (D-PA) (who represents a conservative district in Pennsylvania ) a letter asking him to sign the petition on the Senate intelligence bill after learning that Carney told a reporter from The Hill that Republican leaders "had not yet asked" him to sign the petition.
Here is the full text of Blunt's letter:
May 1, 2008