House Passes RESTORE Act

The House has just passed the RESTORE Act of 2007 (Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective), H.R. 3773 by a vote of 227-189. This bill provides the Intelligence Community with effective tools to conduct surveillance of foreign targets outside the United States but restores Constitutional checks and balances that were not contained in President Bush's bill, the Protect America Act (PAA). See highlights of the debate >>

Read details of the legislation in our current legislation section >>

Speaker Pelosi spoke shortly before passage:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “We have now included certain criteria the government must take into account in considering whether a warrant is required. This will help prevent inappropriate warrantless surveillance and reverse targeting of Americans under the guise of foreign intelligence. The bill restores checks and balances. This is very, very important because, again, it’s part of our oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States. The bill rejects groundless claims of inherent executive authority. There are those who claim that the President has inherent authority, inherent authority from the Constitution to do whatever he wishes. Long ago our founders rejected that concept in founding our country. We must do that as well, continue to make that clear.”

Republicans offered a motion to recommit promptly, with the intent of “effectively killing the measure by delay” as the Washington Post recently described such motions. Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Democrats denounced the measure and the measure was defeated:

Chairman Conyers: “I strongly oppose this motion. The minority has just made it clear that they’re not seeking to change the bill. They’re seeking to kill the bill. And the tactic is getting pretty old in the House of Representatives. If they wanted to vote on the proposal today, they would have used the word — doesn’t everybody know it now? — ‘forthwith,’ as I have suggested but they have refused under well-established House rules and precedent. Other words do not have that effect even if they sound like they should. The minority used the word ‘promptly’ and it’s no accident they chose that word. The authors of this motion know full well the effect of choosing this word and so do we. And that is why they chose it. They wanted to send the bill back to the graveyard, which is what will happen if this motion is adopted.”
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