Wednesday afternoon, House Republicans and conservative Democrats defeated the House Leadership's attempt to pass a 21-day extension of the Protect America Act. Absent such an extension, the PAA is set to expire this Friday, February 15.
The Bush Administration's allies are trying to use this false deadline to bully the House into an immediate vote on the Senate's new surveillance bill, rather than allow time for negotiation between the Senate and House. The Senate's bill includes immunity for telecoms that assisted in the President's warrantless wiretapping program, whereas the House's RESTORE Act does not.
Update, 5:20pm PT: In a striking statement this evening, House Speaker Pelosi signaled that she may be intending to call the President's bluff and allow the PAA to expire:
Today, an overwhelming majority of House Democrats voted to extend (the PAA) for three weeks so that agreement could be reached with the Senate on a better version of that law. The President and House Republicans refused to support the extension and therefore will bear the responsibility should any adverse national consequences result.
However, even if the Protect America Act expires later this week, the American people can be confident that our country remains safe and strong. Every order entered under the law can remain in effect for 12 months from the date it was issued.
Who will blink first — the Democrats or the President? Help steel the House's resolve and call your Congressperson now!