Thursday, September 07, 2006
Obscure Senate rule stalls NSA wiretap bill


Sen. Russ Feingold ardently opposes Sen. Arlen Specter's legislation.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold employed an obscure Senate rule Thursday to temporarily stymie a compromise bill aimed at formally authorizing the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretap program.

The Wisconsin senator requested a rule requiring committees -- in this case, the Judiciary Committee -- to end their work two hours after the Senate floor is gaveled to order unless allow them to work beyond that.

Agitated, the committee's Republican chair, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, blamed Democratic "obstructionism" and threatened to move to the Senate floor without the committee's consent or schedule the next committee vote much earlier in the morning.

GOP lawmakers are pushing hard to pass terrorism and other security-related bills ahead of the November election. Specter's bill would allow the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the wire tap program's constitutionality.

But an aide to Feingold pointed out that at least three Republicans signed a letter to Specter on Wednesday asking that he postpone consideration of his bill so more hearings can be held.
Posted By Ted Barrett, CNN Congressional Unit: 9/07/2006 03:52:00 PM ET | Permalink
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