Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced today that the introduction of the Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act, a bill that would eliminate retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that allegedly participated in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. The immunity had been included in the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008.
“During the previous administration, telecommunications companies were granted retroactive immunity for violating the rights and privacy of millions of Americans,” said Merkley. “I am proud to join Senator Dodd and co-sponsor the Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act to help restore accountability and increase oversight to protect the privacy rights that have been central to our nation since its inception.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) hasn’t seen the bill yet, but is already rejecting it. As quoted on Politico, Hoyer commented, “I don’t think that revisiting that issue will get us anyplace,” Hoyer said. Without Hoyer’s support, the bill has little chance of passing both houses of Congress. Hoyer didn’t totally shut the door, however. As quoted in an Associated Press report, Hoyer said:
“I am not going to make a decision on that at this point in time.”
But he added: “I think there was a determination to move on on that issue and I think that determination is a good one.”