Shameful. Just when you thought the Democratic-controlled House couldn't sink any lower in being a do-nothing, incompetent Congress, nearing a historic single-digit public approval rating, it has proceeded to accomplish just that.
The ever-startled-looking Nancy Pelosi has allowed the Protect America Act of 2007 to expire.
Her defiance and blocking maneuvers are inexcusable, and I would say bordering on treason.
Here is a horror story that is sure to be repeated if action is not taken now.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn pointed out in an article that three U.S. troops were kidnapped in Iraq last year and a search-and-save mission was immediately undertaken.
"Within hours, a new source of information was discovered that required electronic surveillance of phone conversations," he wrote.
Because of existing laws, it took more than 10 hours to get permission to proceed. Later, one of the soldiers was found floating in the Euphrates River, and the terrorists claimed to have executed the other two.
The Protect America Act, if in place at that time, would have allowed our forces to act immediately on the information. Do you think the 10 hours of delay may have cost the soldiers' lives? I do.
By preventing the Protect America Act from being extended, the ever-shocked-looking Pelosi will be solely responsible for tragedies like the above happening again.
Ms. Pelosi, the blood of these possible future tragedies will be directly related to your inaction. How could any patriotic American allow something like this to happen?
The bill to extend the act's provisions was handily passed by the Senate by a vote of 68 to 29. It came to a standstill when the bill reached the House.
Nancy knew that the bill would pass with bipartisan support if it were brought to the floor, so she simply did not allow that to happen. She also lied about her reasons for doing so. As per the CongressDaily publication, aides said the reason for not bringing the bill to the floor was "a very tight floor schedule."
Yet, as the article pointed out, the House found time to pass a bill labeled H.R. 1143, which was about approving a lease agreement between the Interior Department and a luxury beach resort in the Virgin Islands.
Remember, the House had more than six months to responsibly debate the matter.
The only reason the bill will not be presented is that Pelosi wants the telecom companies not to have immunity from prosecution.
Jay Rockefeller, Democrat chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said, "The quality of the intelligence that we are going to be receiving is going to be degraded if this bill does not become law before the interim measure expires."
On Jan. 28, 21 House Democrats signed a letter urging the leadership to pass Rockefeller's bill. As many as 40 House Democrats would vote for the bill if presented for vote.
The real reason Pelosi is behaving this way is the American Trial Lawyers Association has bought and paid for her. They have her in their front pocket. There are almost 40 lawsuits pending against the telecommunications companies that responded when intelligence officials asked for their cooperation in helping to track down foreign intelligence targets located in foreign lands.
Again, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded, "Electronic communication service providers acted on a good-faith belief that the President's program, and their assistance, was lawful."
Rockefeller also asked, "What is the big payoff for the telephone companies? They get paid a lot of money? No, they get paid nothing. What do they get for their cooperation? They get $40 billion worth of lawsuits, grief, trashing, but they do it."
But Nancy thinks the trial lawyers come first. After all, 66 trial lawyers involved in these suits have contributed more than $1.5 million to congressional Democrats.
Also, their extreme left-wing special-interest groups like the ACLU demand allegiance to their anti-American cause.
As Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., wrote, "They've put the interests of trial lawyers and special-interest groups before a bipartisan bill to effectively combat terrorism."
Unfortunately for America, Nancy Pelosi represents the 8th Congressional District covering most of the county and city of San Francisco, one of the most liberal bastions with the most liberal judges in the United States.
She is solidly entrenched with all the America-haters she represents. It would be very difficult to have her voted out of office. We have to find a way for our own future safety.
Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at SearsT@hartwick.edu. His column appears every other week.