Congressman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) released the following statement after the House defeated a 21 day extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):
"With only three days left on a temporary extension of the FISA, Congress is yet again dragging its feet instead of acting to secure our nation from foreign terrorist threats.
"This is another example of how Washington is broken.
"If Democrats and Republicans in the Senate can put American safety and security first and pass a responsible, long-term FISA bill, surely House members can do the same.
"The Senate bill provides for a six year, long-term solution. Leaders in the House asked us to support the exact same bill, except the House version will expire in just 21 days. Just one month after passing a 15 day extension, this Congress has no excuse for refusing to deal squarely with this issue.
"The time for political showmanship is over. The House needs to come together and pass the Senate's FISA legislation to bring our nation's intelligence gathering efforts into the 21st century. The American people deserve to know that their security isn't being jeopardized every 15 or 20 days when Congress tries to write homeland security legislation in pencil."
The Protect America Act, enacted in August of 2007 to update the FISA, is set to expire on February 16, 2008. This comes just one day after Congress will recess for a President's Day break. Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell has noted that without this law our ability to prevent new attacks will be weakened.
The Senate has already passed S. 2248 on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis by a vote of 68-29. This legislation is the best tool for the intelligence community to monitor terrorist communications and stay one step ahead of those who wish to harm our citizenry and way of life.