- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008

The House of Representatives returns today, fresh from a two-week vacation. When Congress left town March 14, it was the third time in less than seven weeks that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the House on vacation rather than taking up reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

Before leaving town, Pelosi and the House Democratic Leadership rammed through on a 213-197 vote FISA legislation they knew President Bush wouldn’t sign because it fails to include an essential reform: retroactive liability protection for telecommunications companies that responded to government calls for assistance in monitoring terrorist communications following the September 11 attacks. The leadership would have lost without the votes of 14 members of the relatively moderate Blue Dog Coalition who were among the signers of a Jan. 28 letter to Mrs. Pelosi urging support for telecommunications immunity. These lawmakers came under intense pressure from trial lawyers, the left-wing blogs and their own party’s leadership to recant their support for immunity, and they succumbed.

Following are the names of the Democrats (as noted in The Wall Street Journal) who voted for the Pelosi bill after signing a letter to her urging retroactive liability protection: Joe Baca (California); John Barrow (Georgia); Melissa Bean (Illinois); Marion Berry (Arkansas); Leonard Boswell (Iowa); Allen Boyd (Florida); Brad Ellsworth (Indiana); Jim Matheson (Utah); Charlie Melancon (Louisiana); Dennis Moore (Kansas); Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota); Mike Ross (Arkansas); Zack Space (Ohio); and John Tanner (Tennessee). Rep. Lincoln Davis of Tennessee voted “present.” These lawmakers have already heard from Mrs. Pelosi and the trial lawyers. We hope their constituents will weigh in and tell them what they think about their representatives carrying water for the Democratic leadership.

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