As I reported over the weekend, today the House will take up the FY 2018 Intelligence Authorization Act (HR 3180) under an expedited consideration mechanism known as suspension of the rules. The announcement was made Friday, but late on Sunday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi complained about the fast‐tracking of the bill. POLITICO quoted a letter from Pelosi to House Democrats:
“The Republican move to place this intelligence bill on Monday’s suspension calendar would deprive Democrats of the ability to have a full and open debate on critical intelligence issues at this sensitive time in our nation’s history…This is unacceptable when critical intelligence decisions are being made that impact America’s national security, and while the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are leading investigations into Russia’s continued efforts to undermine our democracy.”
Pelosi then when on to say that the substance of the bill itself is “not problematic.”
The lead Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff of California, is the co‐sponsor of the bill. Schiff issued no statement of protest on Friday when the voting schedule for the week of July 24 was announced. And in her own comments to POLITICO, Pelosi offered no list of potential Democratic amendments to the bill. Indeed, Pelosi made no mention at all of the fact that key bipartisan surveillance reform amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act were disallowed earlier this month—amendments that would absolutely be germane to the Intelligence Authorization bill.
It appears that for Pelosi, substance‐free procedural sniping is more important than actually making a case for protecting the constitutional rights of Americans to be free from unwarranted surveillance by NSA and other intelligence agencies.