After its historic closed session last night, the House voted to reject telecom immunity this afternoon by a 213-197 margin. Twelve Democrats voted against the bill in the final roll call (here), including five progressives who didn’t think it went far enough.
At this point, the prospects for the bill in the Senate aren’t good, the White House has promised a veto even if the legislation does make it out of both chambers, and today’s House vote is far short of the two-thirds needed for an override. But even so, Glenn Greenwald notes, such an event will produce the best outcome we could hope for: nothing.
“We lived quite well for 30 years under FISA and if no new bill is passed, we will continue to live under FISA. FISA grants extremely broad eavesdropping powers to the President and the FISA court virtually never interferes with any eavesdropping activities. And the only “fix” to FISA that is even arguably necessary — allowing eavesdropping on foreign-to-foreign calls without warrants — has the support of virtually everyone in Congress and could be easily passed as a stand-alone measure.”
What mattered was defeating the Senate’s abysmal Rockefeller/Cheney bill. And today, the House unequivocally did just that.