Wednesday, September 20, 2006

GOP Dissidents Facing Filibuster Threat

Some odious torture fetishists are fighting against the "dissidents" in the GOP who care about the reputation of the United States:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist signaled yesterday that he and other White House allies will filibuster a bill dealing with the interrogation and prosecution of detainees if they cannot persuade a rival group of Republicans to rewrite key provisions opposed by President Bush.

Frist's chief of staff, Eric M. Ueland, called the dissidents' bill "dead."

With Congress scheduled to adjourn in nine days, delaying tactics such as a filibuster could kill the drive to enact detainee legislation before the Nov. 7 elections, a White House priority. Bush faced still more problems in the House, where GOP moderates Christopher Shays (Conn.), Michael N. Castle (Del.), Jim Leach (Iowa) and James T. Walsh (N.Y.) publicly threw their support behind the bill opposed by the White House. The four Republicans told Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) that any House bill must maintain the dissidents' principles.

On another front, legislation to authorize Bush's warrantless wiretapping program may be in more jeopardy. Frist said yesterday that he referred the warrantless surveillance matter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for further review and would not bring it up for Senate consideration until next week.

Yesterday's actions significantly dimmed prospects that Congress can complete its national security agenda before adjournment. Frist (R-Tenn.) acknowledged that a majority of the 100 senators back the rival group on military commissions but that there are not enough to block a filibuster, which requires a super-majority of 60.

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