- - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SENATE

Panel votes to extend surveillance law to 2015

The Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to extend a wide-ranging surveillance law targeting foreigners overseas to mid-2015, but Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says he will block the measure unless the public is told more about the law’s impact on people living in the United States.

In a closed-door session, the committee turned aside an amendment by Mr. Wyden and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado that would have directed the Justice Department’s inspector general to estimate how many people inside the U.S. have had their telephone calls and emails monitored by government agents under the surveillance law — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments of 2008.

The law, due to expire at the end of next year, would be extended to June 2015 if the committee action becomes law.

TEXAS

Perry brings potential donors to dinner table

AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is hosting a series of dinners with potential donors this week as he moves toward an announcement of his White House aspirations.

Mr. Perry has said he’ll announce by the end of this month whether or not he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012. In the meantime, he’s doing his homework to make up his mind.

Spokesman Mark Miner says the three meetings in Austin this week are intended to “determine whether they have the resources to fund an effective campaign.” Mr. Miner says the meetings are just part of the “decision-making process.”

Mr. Perry has kept a busy summer schedule despite having back surgery July 1. He’s had multiple meetings with fundraisers and made several trips to conservative events around the country.

FAA

Shutdown to continue in partisan standoff

A stalemate that has partially shut down the Federal Aviation Administration will continue into September. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Senate Democrats were unwilling to accept cuts in subsidies for rural air service.

House Republicans had demanded the $16.5 million in subsidy cuts as part of a bill to continue the FAA’s operating authority. Senate Democrats repeatedly tried and failed to pass their own bill without the cuts.

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