Today was probably a day of my life wasted, watching C-SPAN, hoping against hope that the Senate might find its cajones and pass amendments to the FISA Authorization Act renewal bill. Instead I got to watch Senator Feinstein object to every amendment on her own behalf and the administration’s behalf while she kept reiterating that there were only four days left to re-authorize the law and besides, there’s no “secret law” and we all know everything we need to know about the government’s use of the law to surveill citizens. I don’t know if she’s a position in the administration, but she certainly didn’t sound like an elected member of Congress whose duty it is to provide oversight on behalf of the public.
So the Republicans in the Senate did what they usually do (only two supported a weak amendment proposed by Senator Leahy), and disappointingly, a number of Democrats joined them, ensuring that there would not be the 60 votes needed to pass any amendment that came to a vote today.
Kevin Gosztola has a write-up over on FireDogLake that is well worth reading because, frankly, I’m so mad at most members of the Senate right now that this risks becoming a pure rant.
That said, the biggest winners today from my perspective were Senators Wyden, Udall, Merkley, Lee, and even Rand Paul, who proposed a somewhat radical amendment that would have overturned a few pesky Supreme Court decisions and Third Party Doctrine along the way.
The biggest losers today were Senator Feinstein and our civil liberties.