House Blocks Intelligence Reform BillAnd the one thing I find fascinating here is that Hunter and Sensenbrenner have managed to find a way to piss off EVERYBODY. 9/11 families. The 9/11 commission. Bush and Cheney.
Defying their leadership and direct appeals from President Bush and Vice President Cheney, two powerful House Republicans on Saturday blocked intelligence reform legislation that would put a single director in charge of the nation's spy agencies.
Passage of the legislation that would have implemented recommendations from the Sept. 11 commission had appeared likely earlier in the day. Commission members and families of the victims of the terrorist attacks reacted with frustration and outrage at the reversal.
The prospects of reviving the bill appeared uncertain late Saturday.
Hours after House and Senate negotiators said they had a deal, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said he was unable to persuade Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) and some other Republicans to support the compromise. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), also opposed elements of the bill.
The two chairmen stood firm even after the president called Sensenbrenner from Santiago, Chile, where Bush was attending a summit of Asian and Pacific leaders, to urge him to make a compromise. Vice President Cheney asked Hunter to do the same.
Hunter said the bill would undermine the Pentagon's ability to obtain real-time intelligence during a battle. Sensenbrenner objected to stripping out controversial law enforcement and immigration provisions that had been included in the House's intelligence bill.
"We're just doing our jobs," Hunter said in an interview.