FISA cloture fails

Reid looking better.

The Republicans failed by a large margin to invoke cloture on the FISA bill including the telecoms-amnesty provision. They got only four Democratic crossovers (Landrieu, Lincoln, Pryor, and Ben Nelson) while Arlen Specter (!) actually voted “No.”

Cloture requires 60 votes (it’s a 3/5 rule, but 3/5 of the entire Senate, not 3/5 of those voting), but the motion only got 48. Not voting (tantamount to a “No” vote): Harkin, Lieberman, Bill Nelson, Coburn, Dole, Ensign, Harkin, McCain.

Perhaps Harry Reid isn’t actually the dupe that some of his critics have made him out to be. He now has the Republicans in the position of claiming that the expiration of the law would be a national catastrophe and refusing to even allow a vote on a simple 30-day extension. Doesn’t look to me like a winning hand.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: