The House was scheduled to take up the RESTORE Act today, in an effort to roll back the August FISA debacle. But as predicted last week, the bill fell victim to yet another Republican motion to recommit (see linked story for a backgrounder on the motion).
As TPM Election Central reported earlier, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced his intention to offer a motion to recommit the bill with instructions that it be amended "promptly" to include language that nothing in it:
"shall be construed to prohibit the intelligence community from conducting surveillance needed to prevent Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or any other foreign terrorist organization...from attacking the United States or any United States person."What does that mean? A couple things.
First, it means that Cantor has devised a vote that some strategists worry will be very tough for Democrats from marginal districts to resist. How, they fret, will these Democrats be able to explain voting no on an "amendment" that supposedly ensures that intelligence operatives won't be tied up in red tape when they need to prevent a terrorist attack?
Second, it means that if enough Democrats sweat this vote and go along with Republicans, the bill gets "recommitted" -- that is, it's sent back to committee.
Third, the choice of the "promptly" language means the bill gets delayed, and can't come to the floor for passage right away. Why is that?
If you love having people stare at you like you're from another planet, read on after the flip and find out. Then you too can be the person nobody will sit next to on day two of the legislative education conference.