What's coming up in Congress

Today I've been getting ready to do my first blog post for Newstrust. Here's the rough draft:

February 13-17, Newstrust will be featuring coverage of the U.S. Congress. Conor Kenny, over at Congresspedia, has provided a detailed preview you can review of Congressional action through February 15. Then, please join us in a hunt for quality journalism which reflects all viewpoints on this topic.

Yesterday, the Senate passed its version of a replacement for the Protect America Act, providing immunity to telecommunications companies which acceded to the Administration’s request to conduct domestic surveillance without a warrant from the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court. Since the House version withheld such immunity, there will be a conference committee. The New York Times weighed in with a story yesterday citing unnamed “officials” that “said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.” Meanwhile Infoworld reported that the Electric Frontier Foundation and others were highly critical of the Senate version and that “The EFF will push hard to have House negotiators keep the telecom immunity provisions out of the bill that goes to Bush.´

Another important measure before Congress will be the farm bill which has raised editorial criticism of subsidies. The Environmental Working Group finds the Bush Administration’s approach more progressive than that of Congress, which has continued the subsidies sought by lobbyists.

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