House Approves Limits on Electronic Spying; Bush Promises to Veto Move to Expand Need for Warrants
Byline: Sean Lengell and S.A. Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The House voted late yesterday to restrict the federal government's electronic spying powers, despite calls from the White House that the measure would compromise national security.
The bill passed by a 227-189 vote, although the tally fell far short of a two-thirds majority needed to override a veto promised by President Bush.
The House also yesterday sustained Mr. Bush's veto of a bill that combined spending for the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments. The vote, 277-141, was two votes shy of overriding the veto.
The surveillance bill was almost identical to the one that Republicans halted last month with a procedural maneuver.
Democrats hail the bill as a bulwark for civil liberties, saying it stops foreign intelligence surveillance from conducting warrantless electronic eavesdropping inside the U.S. Critics say the measure would impede the global war on terrorism by forcing spy agencies to jump through legal hoops before tapping phone calls in foreign countries.
"Our basic duties as members of Congress - protecting the American people and protecting the values that define us as Americans - are not mutually exclusive," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat. "They can be - and they must be - mutually reinforcing."
The measure calls for rolling back expanded eavesdropping authority passed by Congress in August to modernize the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). …