Last week I suggested that we just dissolve Congress and put up a Kinko’s on Capitol Hill for all the good they’re doing in terms of oversight of the White House. This story proves my point.
Moving to tamp down Democratic calls for an investigation of the administration’s domestic eavesdropping program, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that they had reached agreement with the White House on proposed bills to impose new oversight but allow wiretapping without warrants for up to 45 days.
The agreement, hashed out in weeks of negotiations between Vice President Dick Cheney and Republicans critical of the program, dashes Democratic hopes of starting a full committee investigation because the proposal won the support of Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. The two, both Republicans, had threatened to support a fuller inquiry if the White House did not disclose more about the program to Congress.
“We are reasserting Congressional responsibility and oversight,” Ms. Snowe said.
Democrats called the deal an abdication of the special bipartisan committee’s role as a watchdog, saying the Republicans had in effect blessed the program before learning how it worked or what it entailed.
“The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House,” said Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is vice chairman of the panel.
If this is Ms. Snowe’s idea of “reasserting responsibility and oversight, I’m sure the White House is shaking in their boots.