U.S. Senate Democrats were made skittish by one of their number attempting to censure George Bush, but Harry Reid of Nevada supported debate on the idea.
U.S. Sen. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin introduced the censure resolution, which says Bush first broke the law by unleashing warrantless wiretapping on the public and then misleading the people and Congress about it.
“The president must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law and then misleading the country about its existence and its legality,” Feingold said. “The president’s actions, as well as his misleading statements to both Congress and the public about the program, demand a serious response. If Congress does not censure the president, we will be tacitly condoning his actions and undermining both the separation of powers and the rule of law.”
The resolution gave many Democrats the willies, and they started plotting to prevent a vote on the measure. Republican floor leader Bill Frist relished their apparent division and pushed for an immediate vote.
With the Democrats running for cover, their own floor leader said an immediate vote would be improper because it would prevent debate.
“To try to limit debate on this most important matter that Senator Feingold is going to put before the Senate is not appropriate,” Reid said.
While Reid did not endorse the censure resolution, he praised Feingold “for bringing this to the attention of the American people. We need a full and complete debate on this NSA [National Security Agency] spying.”
The censure resolution is posted at http://feingold.senate.gov/censureresolution.pdf.