With Republicans blocking
any attempts for an extension to the administration's surveillance bill, the pressure is on (last time that didn't go so well
The Senate will have two choices when debate begins this Thursday: the Senate intelligence committee's version
, which would grant retroactive immunity for the telecoms that participated in the administration's warrantless wiretapping program, or the Senate Judiciary Committee's version, which would not. Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) himself opposes retroactive immunity, he struck a deal
with the two committee chairmen to hold a vote first on the intelligence committee's version, and then have a vote on Leahy's version as an amendment. Civil liberty advocates say that move slants the debate in favor of a bill with immunity.The New York Times takes the lay of the land
âIn the end, I think something like the Intelligence Committee bill would pass â with the immunity,â said a senior Democratic official who opposes the immunity plan and insisted on anonymity. âI donât know that itâs possible to get anything through the Senate that doesnât grant the telecom companies immunity.â
Meanwhile, the White House seems primed to force the issue. And what PR push would be complete without a Dick Cheney speech at the Heritage Foundation? He's scheduled to give one today.