In a radio address this weekend, Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) boiled it down:
The President and House Republicans simply can't have it both ways. They cannot argue simultaneously that the temporary August law was essential to national security, and then turn around and engineer the defeat of an extension of it.
(Last week, Conyers stayed in Washington during the Presidents' Day recess to try and re-negotiate FISA. House Republicans told their staff to boycott the meetings.)
By the way, as a Leahy-Conyers-Rockefeller-Reyes Washington Post oped details this morning, the directives obtained under last August's temporary Protect America Act are still in force until at least this fall. As the Assistant AG for National Security put it, "We'll be able to continue doing surveillance based on those directives." So the White House's current fear-circus is just that: a show.