So here is where the FISA debate, which kicked off in earnest this morning, stands.
The first vote today will be on the Senate Judiciary Committee's version of the surveillance legislation, which contains no
retroactive immunity for the telecoms who collaborated with the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. That will be at two o'clock this afternoon. There is no agreement that such a vote meet a 60-vote threshold, so when the Republicans move to block that bill, the vote will be held on a 50-vote threshold. If they win that vote, then the bill will revert back to the Senate intelligence committee's bill, which has a retroactive immunity provision.
After that will come a number of amendments, among them Sens. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) and Russ Feingold's (D-WI), which contains a provision to strip the immunity from the bill. Reid says that he supports such a bill. And he said today that Republicans will have to actually filibuster if they want to stop any of the amendments from getting a simple majority vote:
"As I have said before, if there are Senators who don't like these amendments and think they should be subjected to 60-vote thresholds, these Senators are going to have to engage in an old-fashioned filibuster. These amendments are by and large germane, and I believe they should be adopted if a majority of the Senate supports them."
You can Reid's entire statement here
When Reid said something similar yesterday
, a number of people interpreted it as in reference to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) who has said that he would filibuster any bill that contained retroactive immunity. Now it seems as if that remark was meant for everyone.
As for what happens next, I think we'll just have to wait and see. We'll keep you updated.