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Providing for Further Consideration of H.R. 5351, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008

Location: Washington, DC



Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, my colleague from California has said that we are trying to work something out on FISA, and the majority has been trying to engage the minority on FISA and it is really too bad we won't participate.

I have to tell my colleague from California that I am the ranking member on the Technical and Tactical Intelligence Subcommittee, and I have been invited to no meetings. The ranking member of the entire House Committee on Intelligence has been invited to no meetings. And the reason is that there has been no motion to go to conference on the FISA bill, and there is a difference within the Democratic Caucus. You can't even come talk to us until you resolve your own problems internally, because the reality is that a majority of this body, Democrats and Republicans, want to immediately take up this bill that will close the gap in our intelligence collection that has existed now for 11 days.

The rule that we are being asked to consider today actually tables the FISA legislation. And if the rule is defeated, we will immediately bring up the Senate bill that closes this critical intelligence gap.

You don't have to believe me. Senator Rockefeller, on the floor of the United States Senate 12 days ago, said, ``People have to understand around here that the quality of intelligence we are going to be receiving is going to be degraded. Is going to be degraded. It's already going to be degraded.''

The Senate bill will reestablish the procedures that we set up in August to listen to foreigners in foreign countries without a warrant, to require warrants for Americans, and put in place stronger civil liberty protections than we had in the base bill that has been in existence since 1978, and will provide liability protection for our partners in this effort and tools to compel assistance similar to those that are under the criminal wiretap procedures.

Americans need to understand that the Senate has passed a bill to close this intelligence gap. That bill could be passed on the floor of this House today and the President would sign it. We are operating today under outdated procedures that are delaying our ability to listen rapidly to new tips that come in today.

I have been out to our intelligence agencies, and sometimes they start out by saying, Congresswoman, I know you are here to look at a particular program, but I want you to look at what we are tracking today. This is what we are trying to find out today. Here are the five people we are worried about most today. Here are the terrorists that we think are transiting Madrid. They have just come from Pakistan. We don't know where they are going and what they are planning.

We are trying to disrupt and stop terrorist attacks every single day in this country, and the minority, the Democrat liberal leadership of this House, refuses to bring to the floor of this House a bill that will close that gap, and you are compromising the security of this country by doing so. I urge a ``no'' vote on this rule.


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