Ryan: Democrats' FISA Bill Fails to Provide Effective, Long-Term Fix
Wisconsin's First District Congressman Paul Ryan today opposed House Democrats' decision to ignore a bipartisan bill, passed by the Senate on February 12, 2008, updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Majority instead opted to push legislation that offers no long-term fix to close the gaps in America's intelligence laws.
The Senate-passed bill, known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2007, received overwhelming bipartisan support and has similar support within the House. The bill offered by House Democrat leadership, is another temporary measure, which again fails to provide retroactive immunity to companies that assisted the U.S. government with intelligence gathering after September 11th, 2001. Telecommunications companies that responded to America's call have not received adequate protection, making them vulnerable to lawsuits for performing a patriotic service to the country.
Although the bill passed the House on March 14, 2008 by a vote of 213 to 197, it is expected that it will meet stiff opposition in the Senate. President Bush has indicated he will veto legislation that does not provide a long-term update to provide American intelligence community the tools and flexibility needed to quickly respond to terrorist threats. Congressman Ryan issued the following statement:
"It has been nearly one month since the House Democrat leadership allowed the Protect America Act to expire, and American security has suffered because of it. Without this badly needed modernization of FISA, America currently operates at a pre-9/11 intelligence capability. In the days after September 11th, telecom companies stepped forward during our nation's time of need, providing much needed assistance to help keep us safe. Those noble acts deserve admiration - not lawsuits."
"It's absolutely clear that if the Senate bill were brought to the House Floor, it would pass with the same spirit of bipartisanship that it received in the Senate. Unfortunately, House Democrat leadership has chosen to push for a bill that doesn't meet the needs of our intelligence efforts. I will continue to press for House consideration of the bipartisan Senate bill and to provide our intelligence community the necessary tools to protect America from radical Islamic jihadists."