It now appears as though the Congress will allow the current extension to the controversial surveillance law to expire on Friday night rather than try to work out a compromise between separate bills passed by the House and Senate that would extend the legislation for several years. Democrats in the House, who are opposed to a provision in the Senate version of the bill that would grant retroactive immunity to telecoms that aided in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, apparently decided simply to not act on the legislation. Bush and Republican Congressmen ripped the Democrats for their decision, saying that it places the country at greater risk of terrorist attack. From The Washington Post:
At a hastily convened press briefing on the South Lawn, Bush said he would delay his planned trip to Africa this weekend if he is needed in the capital to work on or sign a surveillance bill.
“I urge congressional leaders to let the will of the House and the American people prevail and vote on the Senate bill before adjourning for their recess,” Bush said. “Failure to act would harm our ability to monitor new terrorist activities and could re-open dangerous gaps in our intelligence.”
Though the Democrats have decided to leave for a week-long recess, there is still a slight chance that a compromise could be reached by party leaders. But for right now, it looks like the surveillance law is a dead issue.