With the end of the year approaching, Senator Ron Wyden has admitted that he's willing to drop the hold
on the renewal for the FISA Amendments Act in exchange for allowing some key amendments to be voted on. As summarized by David Kravetz at Wired:
Wyden said he would lift his hold in exchange for a Senate floor vote on an amendment requiring the government to account for how many times Americans’ communications have been accepted, and another amendment prohibiting U.S. spy agencies from reviewing the communications of Americans ensnared in the program.
If that doesn’t go over, he’d lift the hold so the Senate could vote on brief extension of the act so his amendments and others could be fully debated next year.
“I’m willing to go along with a short-term extension as long as we have a chance in the early future, in 2013, to have a debate,” Wyden said.
Of course, we've seen this before
. Just last year we had a "short-term extension" on these things for the sake of debate, but the "debate" never came. Instead, everyone waits until now, when the rules are about to expire, and then demand that it be renewed, sans debate, or else "terrorism!" The whole process is really kind of unfortunate. There should have been a debate years ago
, before the FISA Amendments Act was rushed into law. But, unfortunately, actually considering the implications of these laws -- and how they're used and interpreted -- just doesn't seem to be a major issue for Congress.