Wednesday, September 13, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republicans blocked Democratic attempts to rein in President Bush's domestic wiretapping program Wednesday, endorsing a White House-supported bill that would give the controversial surveillance legal status.
Under pressure from the Bush administration for quick action, the full Senate could take up the measure next week.
Progress on a companion bill in the House was not as tidy, in part because GOP leaders and Bush are intensely negotiating restrictions it proposes on the surveillance program. Even as the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Chairman Arlen Specter's bill to the Senate floor on a party line vote, the same panel in the House abruptly canceled its scheduled markup.
The developments come amid a sustained White House campaign to persuade Congress to give the administration broad authority to monitor, interrogate and prosecute terrorism suspects. The administration is up against an election season in which Republicans are struggling to keep its majority with approval from a war-weary electorate.