Sen. Feingold to Introduce Measure to Censure Bush
Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) says he will introduce a resolution to censure President Bush for his domestic wiretapping program which has ignored the FISA court requirements as spelled out in the 1978 law governing domestic wiretaps.
Speaking on ABC's 'The Week' on Sunday, Feingold explained why he is seeking to censure the president. 'It's an unusual step,' he said. 'It's a big step, but what the president did by consciously and intentionally violating the Constitution and laws of this country with this illegal wiretapping has to be answered.'
Feingold admitted it is doubtful that any Republicans will join the move to censure the president but he said he hoped that at least the important issues can be debated on the Senate floor. Thus far, the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate has prevented any debate or investigation into the administration's actions. 'There can be debate about whether the law should be changed. There can be debate about how best to fight terrorism. We all believe that there should be wiretapping in appropriate cases -- but the idea that the president can just make up a law, in violation of his oath of office, has to be answered.' The only prior president to be censured was Andrew Jackson back in 1834.
Senate Majority Leader Bill First (R-Tenn.) immediately opposed Feingold's move while appearing on 'This Week.' 'We are right now at an unprecedented war where they really want to take us down,' Frist claimed. 'A censure resolution ... is wrong. It sends a signal around the world. The American people are solidly behind this president in conducting the war on terror.' In addition to preventing an investigation, Republicans in the Senate have tried to 'fix' the law retroactively by introducing a bill to address some of the criticisms. Last Tuesday, Senators Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Olympia Snowe R-Maine), Chuck Hagel R-Neb.)and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced legislation in the Senate.
Feingold explained that the recently addressed bill does not address enough of the issues at hand. 'What I'm interested in is my colleagues acknowledging that we as a Congress have to stand up to a president who acts as if the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were repealed on September 11,' he said. 'We didn't enact martial law on September 11. We still have a constitutional form of government, and if the Congress of the United States does not stand up for that authority at this point, it will be an historic failure of our system of government.'
Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) backed Feingold's right to be critical of the president while saying he would wait to decide if he should support the censure. 'I think criticism of the president is legitimate,' Levin said. 'I think we ought to welcome some checks and balances on the president.' While the censure resolution has little chance of winning approval, it may at least open the Senate up to some debate on the administration's controversial domestic spying program.
Posted by: Thains Gravirt3644 2006-03-13