Thursday, February 14, 2008

URGENT: Support the House in the Last Stand Against Telecom Immunity!

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On Tuesday, February 12, the Senate passed a terrible surveillance bill granting immunity to lawbreaking telecoms, putting the House and Senate at the brink of a face-off. Show your support for the House to keep telecom immunity out of the final bill!

Although civil liberties advocates and concerned citizens have been fighting endlessly for the improvement of the bill through amendments -- particularly the Dodd-Feingold amendment to strip telecom immunity from the bill -- the deck was stacked in favor of telecom immunity and pressure from the Administration prevented immunity from being stripped from the bill. The final vote for the Dodd-Feingold amendment to remove immunity was 31 to 67, and the final vote for the whole passing the whole surveillance bill was 68 to 29.

Recall that in November of 2007, the House passed a surveillance bill that does not provide immunity for lawbreaking telecoms. Because the Senate bill provides immunity while the House bill does not, the two chambers must resolve their differences in a conference meeting before sending a bill to the President.

Some members of the House of Representatives have already begun to sound the drums for this battle -- a trio of key leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce have sent a stern letter to their colleagues to explain and encourage them to hold the line against telecom immunity, and more than two dozen members of the House fought back against White House pressure with a strong letter opposing telecom immunity. On the other side, proponents of immunity in the Blue Dog Coalition (conservative Democrats) have signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi, urging telecom immunity.

It's our turn to respond. Lend your support and tell members of the House of Representatives to make a last stand in the name of privacy rights and the rule of law!

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