Congress is conflicted over proposed immunity laws that would retroactively protect telecoms from suits alleging they illegally handed the government information on calls. The Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed immunity 13-2 last month, but the Judiciary Committee left the immunity section out of the document it approved yesterday. The House passed its version of the bill 227-189 last night without immunity.
Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy was in a minority that supported an amendment eliminating immunity from the bill. The committee, which voted 10-9, did not have a quorum, reports ZDNET, so it was unofficial. The full Senate will have to hash out a decision. Presidential candidate Chris Dodd has vowed to block any immunity bill from going to a vote, and President Bush has said he won’t approve a new bill without it.