In the rush before their August recess, Congress has been very busy. Here’s a quick rundown of some of their work, including important victories, battles and polls this week.
Victory for John Doe
The “John Doe” law to shield terrorist tipsters from nuisance lawsuits, initially rejected by the House, has been successfully added to September 11 legislation.
Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bernie Thompson (D.-Miss.), strongly opposed the bill authored by Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.), a ranking member of the same committee.
“I do not support the attempt by my colleagues to shield from liability anybody and everybody who decides to make a claim against someone alleging terrorist activity,” Thompson said. King previously threatened not to sign the final conference report of the bill unless the John Doe provision was included.
Border Security Not Germane to Homeland Security
Republicans, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), introduced an amendment to the fiscal year 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Wednesday that would provide $3 billion for border fencing and prohibit “sanctuary city” policies, which forbid local law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration laws.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) then raised a point of order against the amendment on grounds it was not germane to the underlying bill. Reid claimed the amendment would “re-legislate immigration” and “take away basic rights that people have, people who are American citizens.” Reid’s point of order passed 52-44.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R.-Miss.), Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Ala.) and Sen. George Voinovich (R.-Ohio) crossed party lines to help Democrats defeat the amendment. Three senators seeking their party’s presidential nomination did not vote on the point of order: Sam Brownback (R.-Kans.), Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) and John McCain (R.-Ariz.) Sen.Tim Johnson (D.-N.D.), who is recovering from brain hemorrhage, also did not vote on the measure..