Senate Democrats had an opportunity Tuesday night to block legislation that places expanded warrantless spying powers into the hands of President Donald Trump—who they have frequently criticized as a deranged authoritarian—but 18 Democrats opted instead to do the opposite, providing the decisive votes in favor of a cloture motion that essentially ensures the bill’s passage this week.
While many viewed the Senate’s approval of cloture as a sure thing, a bit of drama ensued Tuesday night as the motion was two votes shy of the necessary 60 with two senators—John Kennedy (R-La.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)—left to vote.
But after Kennedy opted to vote in favor of the motion, McCaskill quickly followed with a yes vote of her own—giving the Republican majority enough votes to kill debate on the the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (S.139), block any possible privacy amendments, and clear its path to the Senate floor.
In total, 18 Democratic senators—as well as Angus King (I-Maine)—voted with Republicans to move the widely denounced bill forward.
The 18 Democrats were: Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Joe Manchin (W.V.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Warner (Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.).
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