Good news. We got what we wanted from our calls to the Senate Judiciary Committee -- for now.
We wanted to delay a vote in the Senate on the Specter-Cheney wiretapping bill. If that vote happens before Election Day the bill will likely pass on a party-line vote.
The President wants this bill. His party has the majority and this is expected to be a party-line vote. But with significant public outcry, they may delay the vote until after the Elections or put it off indefinitely.
Perhaps the majority party loses control in November, in which case the Specter bill is dead. But if they keep their majority, perhaps the time could be used to convince them that the power they give to a President they support, to do things they want done today, could be used by a President they don't like, to do things they would not approve of, tomorrow.
Either way, time is our friend
DownsizeDC.org is non-partisan, but it's still notable and important to point out that it is the opposition party that is opposing this constitutionally destructive proposal. They need to know they have public support to stop this bill. Our phone calls told them they have that support. The Democrats proposed and debated amendments until time ran out, so no vote was held to send the bill to the Senate floor. If the bill gets forced to a Senate vote by other means, the Democrats might filibuster. Knowing they have public support makes a filibuster more likely.
Your calls and messages tell Congressional defenders of the 4th Amendment (from both parties) that they have public support; that when the party leadership arm-twisters call or members of the administration come bearing tax-payer funded "gifts," that they aren't alone. Your calls and messages may remind them of their principles; might give them courage.
Wednesday we made calls, today we should send messages -- lots of them. You can do so here.
SNIP THE SECTION BELOW AND SEND IT TO FRIENDS
It's sad, but true. The President broke the law. He violated the Fourth Amendment. He allowed the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without a warrant. The Courts told him to stop. Now some in Congress want to re-write the law to "legalize" the President's Constitutional lawbreaking.
Will we allow terrorism to destroy our freedoms? Will we allow lawless government? Do we want EVERY President, Democrat or Republican, to have the power to spy on Americans, unconstrained by law? This is now a real possibility.
Vice-President Cheney and Senator Arlen Specter have crafted a bill that would gut the 4th Amendment, and give future Presidents incredible power to spy on Americans. Do not allow this. Use this link to send Congress a message opposing this bill, and others like it.
READ THE BILL
And then there's this news...
The Cheney-Specter bill has complicated provisions that haven't been released to the rest of the Senate!
A group of Senators sent Senator Specter a letter that included the following message:
"We believe Congress needs far more information about the newest section of your bill, which contains numerous complex amendments to FISA that appear to rewrite the law significantly. If Congress is to consider these changes, we should have detailed information about the effects of those provisions."
Congress needs time to read and consider this bill before they vote on it. The "Read the Bills Act" would make this a legal requirement. If you have time, send a second message to Congress. Tell them to sponsor the Read the Bills Act.
Tell them to contact DownsizeDC.org about RTBA immediately. Tell them you're eager to hear that they've done so. Send your message here.
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.