Senate Battles On Terror Wiretaps

The Senate will try today to wear down liberal opponents of a deal on terrorism surveillance legislation, which also features another political dance by Barack Obama on a major issue.

Critics of the plan that renews terror laws have no chance to stop this bill, but they prevented approval of the measure before Senators left on a July 4th break.

"This bill is not a compromise," said liberal Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI.)

"This bill is a capitulation."

That is the feeling among many on the left, who think that Democratic leaders simply caved in to the White House and gave President Bush a major victory on an issue that many liberals thought their leaders would fight to the death.

One of those was Barack Obama, who had been urged by groups like MoveOn.Org to filibuster the bill, mainly because of a provision that grants immunity to telecommunication companies for their help with warrantless wiretaps after Nine Eleven.

But in the end, only 15 Senators voted against bringing the bill to the Senate floor, meaning that at some point in the next few days, this bill should be on its way to the White House for a presidential signature.

"Netroots Feel Jilted By Obama Stance on FISA," read the headline on one web page about the terror surveillance bill, also known by the moniker FISA.

Liberals were holding out hope that some Democrats would reconsider their votes over the July 4th break last week and stop this measure.

Sen. Feingold said he hoped "Senators will take a closer look at this deeply flawed legislation and understand how it threatens the civil liberties of the American people."

"It is possible to defend this country from terrorists while also protecting the rights and freedoms that define our nation," Feingold added.

President Bush had made clear he would veto any bill that did not include immunity for telecom firms.  Both sides had been in a standoff for months over the issue.

There are currently over three dozen such lawsuits in the courts.  All of them would evidently be scrapped by this bill.

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