It's getting next to no coverage, swept out of the headlines by the presidential race, but a final vote on FISA could come this week. There's a good version of FISA reform, which denies immunity to the companies that assisted in spying on Americans. And since the Democrats run the Senate, this version is… yes, not going to survive.
Republicans and the White House back the intelligence panel's version. It would give retroactive legal immunity to telecommunication companies that helped the Bush administration spy on U.S. citizens without warrants dating back to September 2001, as long as those companies received written requests for assistance from the administration. The Judiciary measure, which is supported by liberal Democrats and civil and privacy liberties groups, does not give any protections to the companies, who face about 40 civil lawsuits. Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are expected to offer amendments that would substitute the government for the companies in the lawsuits.
This isn't what Americans actually want, and liberals like Chris Dodd are threatening to filibuster. The leadership is ready for that:
Without an agreement for an extension, Reid said the Senate must pass FISA legislation this week, with the bulk of floor debate expected to play out Thursday. "If people think they're going to talk this to death, we're going to be in here all night," Reid said. "If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they're going to do it in the openness of the Senate."