Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dissidents' Detainee Bill May Face Filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist signaled yesterday that he and other White House allies will filibuster a bill dealing with the interrogation and prosecution of detainees if they cannot persuade a rival group of Republicans to rewrite key provisions opposed by President Bush.

Frist's chief of staff, Eric M. Ueland, called the dissidents' bill "dead."

With Congress scheduled to adjourn in nine days, delaying tactics such as a filibuster could kill the drive to enact detainee legislation before the Nov. 7 elections, a White House priority. Bush faced still more problems in the House, where GOP moderates Christopher Shays (Conn.), Michael N. Castle (Del.), Jim Leach (Iowa) and James T. Walsh (N.Y.) publicly threw their support behind the bill opposed by the White House. The four Republicans told Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) that any House bill must maintain the dissidents' principles.

On another front, legislation to authorize Bush's warrantless wiretapping program may be in more jeopardy. Frist said yesterday that he referred the warrantless surveillance matter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for further review and would not bring it up for Senate consideration until next week.



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