House Passes Surveillance Bill without Retroactive Immunity

March 14, 2008 2:07 p.m.

The House Dem leadership’s surveillance bill just cleared the House by a vote of 213-197 with 1 vote of present. 12 Dems crossed the aisle to vote against it.

The bill has stricter privacy safeguards than the Senate’s version — and of course does not contain a provision granting retroactive immunity for the telecoms’ participation in the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

As for what’s next, it’s over to the Senate where it’s sure to undergo some modifications. In a statement earlier this week, Senate intelligence committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said that “considerable work remains” on reconciling the House’s latest version and the Senate version. Rockefeller said he’s willing to adopt a number of the House’s provisions, including a much shorter sunset (2 years) on the law, but notably omitted the topic of immunity. Rockefeller supports blanket immunity for the telecoms.

The Senate is certainly a different place. Today, 12 House Dems voted against a bill that does not contain retroactive immunity (and some of those were from liberals like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)). Last month in the Senate, 18 Dems voted against an attempt to strip retroactive immunity from the Senate bill.

Update: Here’s the roll call.

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