Rockefeller on House Bill: “Considerable Work Remains”

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March 11, 2008 5:28 p.m.

A statement from Senate intelligence committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on the House’s bill:

“I have worked hard in recent weeks to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House FISA bills and produce legislation that strengthens intelligence collection against foreign terrorist targets and addresses liability protection for telecommunications companies. Regrettably, the Administration and Republicans chose to boycott these discussions and refused to play a constructive role in producing such a bill that could have strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.

“Today’s House proposal reflects progress in bringing the two bills together, and it is a step in the right direction. But, considerable work remains.

“I continue to believe that the Senate FISA bill can be made even better through a limited number of changes, such as a shorter sunset, strengthened exclusivity, and improved accountability – modifications that in no way inhibit the collection authorities needed by the Intelligence Community.

“As soon as the House sends us this new bill, we will once again roll up our sleeves and get back to work on a final compromise that the House, Senate and White House can support.”

Rockefeller’s support, of course, would be essential for any compromise bill to carry the Senate. But he’s supported retroactive immunity for the telecoms and it appears from his statement that he’s got a number of problems with the House bill.

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