As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Steny Hoyer, America's Worst Majority Leader

Apparently Hoyer was about to knife the progressive movement - again - by putting forward an update to the FISA bill, negotiated without the input from most of the rank and file, that would have enshrined the extreme power grab from back in August into permanent law, and which may have yielded retroactive immunity for telecoms like AT&T who payed ball with the Bush Administration and illegally gave up reams of data. Well, the progressive allies in the House banded together, and Hoyer had to back down.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House Majority Leader, postponed a press conference announcing new reforms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act after progressive lawmakers banded together and said they would fight any legislation that did not include a set of eight principles on wiretapping that preserve the "rule of law."

"What's most significant is that the Progressive Caucus came together and said to the leadership that all 72 of us require that these provisions be included," said Caroline Fredercikson, Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "This changes the dynamic significantly."

That's a major victory. Considering that the NSA has already grabbed all sorts of new eavesdropping powers (in the name of protecting government networks from hackers), considering that new technologies are being developed to eavesdrop on Internet calls and push ads at the user, the last thing we need is an expansion of the national security state. The Progressive Caucus is saying they will not accept a bill that doesn't roll back the Administration's power grab and restore the FISA court to the oversight responsibility it deserves.

It's nice to feel that progressives at least have a little bit of leverage to stop the sellout. And especially at a time when secret memos are flying back and forth in the White House licensing all sorts of illegal activity, the last thing the Democratic Party should be doing is sanctioning it.

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