Donnelly joins with GOP on surveillance vote

(The following piece ran on Feb. 28 in the South Bend Tribune. Emphasis in the text below by DW.)

by Nancy Sulok

Congressman Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, was one of seven Democrats and 191 Republicans who voted Tuesday to allow a vote on a Senate bill concerning surveillance of suspected terrorists.

The effort failed, however, with 212 Democratic votes against it.

The vote would have allowed the House to vote on a resolution to extend the Protect America Act, which is part of the larger Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Congress is negotiating for a new FISA, which became law in 1978, but Democrats and Republicans have failed to come to an agreement on it.

Donnelly voted on Feb. 13 to extend the Protect America Act for 21 days to allow more time to resolve the conflicts. The Protect America provision, passed last August, expired Feb. 16.The controversial measure provides for warrantless searches and surveillance, including wiretaps, of suspected terrorists. Since it expired, surveillance can continue, but only with a warrant from a FISA judge.

After Tuesday’s vote, Defense of Democracies issued a press release praising Donnelly for his vote. Defense of Democracies has been running a television ad in the South Bend market that urges constituents to contact Donnelly and ask him to push for passage of the bill.

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