Inside Politics: Lawmakers OK renewal for surveillance law

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The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly renewed a surveillance law that allows the government to monitor conversations of foreign spies and terrorist suspects abroad, while requiring approval from a secret court when Americans are targeted anywhere in the world.

Supporters emphasized that the bill is aimed at foreigners overseas, not Americans. The vote was 301-118 to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act monitoring provisions for five years.

Opponents said the legislation does not adequately protect Americans from unintentional interception of their communications. Several opponents said they would support a three-year extension of the law, which expires at year’s end, while more information is gathered about threats to Americans’ civil liberties.

The may run into problems in the Senate where Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, has used a procedural tactic to prevent a vote. He is one of several senators who have unsuccessfully tried to learn how many Americans were caught up in the surveillance.

House supporters, however, assured Americans that their rights are protected.

“This is about foreigners on foreign soil. It’s not a dragnet,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

He said Americans’ rights “are alive and well here. This is one of those programs that has an inordinate amount of oversight to make sure we are not targeting Americans.”

CALIFORNIA

GOP congressional candidate backs off abortion remark

SACRAMENTO — A Republican congressional candidate in California is backing off remarks he made that women who have abortions are more likely to get cancer.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Doug LaMalfa made the statement Monday during a debate, then repeated them to KRCR-TV.

A link between abortion and breast cancer has been the subject of medical studies, but groups such as the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute concluded no scientific evidence backed such claims.

Mr. LaMalfa’s campaign said in a statement Tuesday that he was misinformed. His consultant says the 1st Congressional District front-runner relied on information he read several years ago.

A fellow Republican running in Missouri, Senate hopeful Rep. W. Todd Akin, made headlines this summer for his comments that women could thwart pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.”

FLORIDA

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