March 14: Defying President George Bush, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed an anti-terrorism spy bill that permits lawsuits against phone companies. After a rare and historic secret session Thursday night, March 13th – only the 5th secret session by Congress since 1825 – House Dems pushed the bill despite Bush’s threat of a veto.
WASHINGTON-The House on Friday approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government’s eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States.The bill, approved as lawmakers departed for a two-week break, faces a veto threat from President Bush. The margin of House approval was 213-197, largely along party lines.
Because of the promised veto, “this vote has no impact at all,” said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.
The president’s main objection is that the bill does not protect from lawsuits the telecommunications companies that allowed the government to eavesdrop on their customers without a court’s permission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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