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While discussing the expiration of the Protect America Act (PAA) on the February 18 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck claimed: "[President Bush] feels -- and I happen to agree with him -- that this congressional game-playing by [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi will end up killing Americans." The blog Think Progress documented Beck's comments in a February 19 posting.
As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, on February 13, the House of Representatives voted on a 21-day extension of the PAA, which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and, among other things, expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant. All 195 House Republicans who cast a vote on the extension of the bill -- which Bush had said he would veto -- voted against it, and the measure failed, 229-191.
Pelosi noted in a February 13 statement that "the underlying Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which provides for the surveillance of terrorists and provides that in emergencies surveillance can begin without warrant, remains intact and available to our intelligence agencies."
From the February 18 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Now, after 9-11, you remember we came up with all kinds of new -- aggressive new laws to combat a new kind of enemy. One of them was the Patriot Act. Another one was the Protection -- Protect America Act. This was an extension of our eavesdropping. It helped our government listen in and find terrorists.
Well, over the weekend, the House failed to pass this bill, which would have prevented the Protect America Act from lapsing -- an extension requested by the president. It's got a six-month sunset over and over again. He feels -- and I happen to agree with him -- that this congressional game-playing by Nancy Pelosi will end up killing Americans.
Now, what could be even more terrifying than that fact is that Congress may be acting with re-election in mind and not your safety. Critics are saying now that the House caved to special-interest groups, mostly trial lawyers who want the rights to sue these big, huge phone companies that release sensitive information to the government.