Bill-signing extravaganza for FISA

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The White House has planned a bill-signing extravaganza today (including Democrats!) to celebrate the passage yesterday of a law updating foreign surveillance law.

President Bush will sign the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act of 2008 at 1:15 in the Rose Garden, with a full crew of administration officials and Republicans on hand, and two Democrats.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat, will stand behind the president when he makes remarks and signs the bill.

Several leading Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, opposed the bill because it gave immunity to telecommunications companies that allowed the government to eavesdrop on phone calls after the 9/11 attacks.

But Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, voted in favor of the bill, a move that has angered a portion of the far left. The Illinois Democrat was one of 21 Democrats to vote for the bill.

His vanquished Democratic primary foe, Sen. Hillary Clinton, of New York, voted against the bill.

Also at the signing ceremony today: Vice President Cheney, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, along with Senate Minority Whip John Kyl, Arizona Republican, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, several other Republican lawmakers and 75 staff members.

 

Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times

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