Friday, December 14, 2007

Dodd set to Filibuster...will Wyden support him?

I certainly hope so. Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he will let the FISA version that contains retroactive telecommunications immunity proceed to a floor vote on Monday. Back in October, Senator Chris Dodd vowed to do whatever it takes, including a filibuster, to keep this version of FISA from being made law. Also, at the time, the other presidential candidates currently serving in the Senate: Clinton, Obama and Biden all pledged to publicly support Dodd's filibuster. Dodd's campaign is asking folks to remind the candidates of that pledge. We'll see if they stay true to their word and actually demonstrate their worthiness to be president.

This also means that we, again, need to make sure that our senators know that we expect them to stand up for us, even if that means supporting the filibuster. Now, I don't expect Gordon Smith to support anything having to do with choosing citizens over big business money in his pockets, but I do expect Wyden to do so. Or at least I hope he does.Late this afternoon, Wyden released a statement regarding Reid's decision. (Typos and misspells are from the release)

I want to say a word about the process which the distinguished senate majority leader has jus touched on. I was one of two in the senate intelligence committee to oppose the intelligence committee's version of the legislation. I am strongly opposed to granting telecommunications companies total retroactive immunity when they have been accused of wrongdoing in the president's wireless wiretapping legislation. It was the major reasonable why i opposed the legislation.

I do, however, respect Senator Reid's decision to hold the debate on this legislation under the regular senate rules. certainly, the distinguished majority leader has been under a lot of pressure from all sides to change the rules that in one way might favor one side or the other, but i think the majority leader has made the right decision by insisting that this debate go by the book.

I've had the chance now to work with the distinguished majority leader for more than a quarter of a century. I know how much respect he has for the senate and for this institution. He firmly believes in the committee process. He firmly believes in the senate rules and traditions, and he worked to carry those beliefs out as both the minority whip and the minority leader.

I'm heartened by his statement that he strongly disagrees with the immunity, and that leads me to believe that he will definitely vote against it. Ron Wyden is no stranger to the filibuster (big oil) and has used the threat of one on several occassions, particularly around Alito, death with dignity, and net neutrality.

Wyden is known as a nice man and as respectful of his fellow senators. I admire that about him. However, hopefully this respectfulness doesn't extend to supporting Reid over the rights of American citizens against rampant corporate invasion of privacy and disregard for the law.