February 14, 2008 | By Tim Jones

House Democrats Preparing To Call Bush's Bluff

Today, in a striking development, Democratic House Leadership has been announcing loud and clear that they don't intend to let Bush bully them into passing the Senate's draconian surveillance bill.

Ever since the Senate passed its bill on Tuesday, Bush has been attempting to railroad the bill through the House by claiming that failure to cave to his demands will result in all American surveillance operations 'going dark' on Friday. Of course, this claim is completely false.

Dems aren't standing for it. Following on Nancy Pelosi's Wednesday evening statement, Representative Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) sent a great letter to President Bush:

Because I care so deeply about protecting our country, I take strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Administration’s warrantless surveillance program.

Rep Rush Holt (D-NJ) issued a supporting statement: "The only way our intelligence collection against Al Qaeda will 'go dark' is if President Bush doesn’t pay the FBI's and NSA's phone bills."

The media appears to be supporting them. Dozens of editorials in papers across the country today lauded the Democrats' sudden willingness to take a stand. The Washington Post's commentary was typical:

Mr. Bush's pass-it-now-or-the-terrorists-will-win rhetoric is overheated fearmongering. He should agree to a second extension, which would allow intelligence agencies to operate under the existing law. The fact is that even if the law is permitted to expire Saturday, as scheduled, the orders under which surveillance is being conducted would remain in place.

Huge thanks to all EFF supporters who took time to contact their Congresspeople over the past few days! The Dems would not be standing this tall if they didn't know their constituents have their backs.

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