President George W. Bush delivers remarks prior to the signing of H.R. 6304, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendment Act of 2008, Thursday, July 10, 2008, in the Rose Garden of the White House. Joining President Bush at the signing ceremony are from left, Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M.; Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.; U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey; Director of National Intelligence Admiral Michael McConnell; Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.; Rep.Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Vice President Dick Cheney; Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman; Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, Rep. John Boehner, R- Ohio; Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R- Mich.; Missouri Senator Kit Bond, Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas; Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas; and West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian
Joined by members of both parties, including the Democrat chairmen of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, President Bush finally signed the long overdue FISA bill to allow for monitoring of terrorist communications.
The votes in both houses were bipartisan and lopsided in favor of the bills (House roll call here, Senate roll call here). Barack Obama voted for the bill which he swore to filibuster. Even Nancy Pelosi voted for it. Only one Republican, Rep.Johnson (IL) voted joined 128 House Democrats in voting against the bill. In the Senate, no Republicans joined the 28 Democrats and the Socialist Bernie Sanders (VT) in voting no.
In contrast to the low key Oval Office ceremony for signing the Iraq war funding bill on June 30, this event showcased Democrat's concerns about being seen as soft on terrorists in the weeks remaining before the November election.
But one wonders why Democrats obstructed passage of the bill and allowed foreign surveillance of terrorists to lapse for so many months if they were going to end up supporting the bill in the end?