Congress Torn on Telecom Immunity

Senate panel sidesteps; House passes bill without it
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2007 7:48 AM CST
Donald Kerr testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on his nomination to become Deputy Director of National Intelligence in this Aug. 1, 2007 file photo....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.