Democrats on the House/Senate conference committee have dropped from the Homeland Security bill the provision that would protect “John Doe” citizens from lawsuits when they report suspicious behavior to the authorities.
This is a good example of how Congress really works. The “John Doe” measure passed the House on a 304-121 vote, which means that many Democrats didn’t want to go on record as opposing the measure. Instead, they killed it quietly in conference committee. So now Democrats in “swing” districts–those must be the ones where voters take seriously the risk of terrorist attack–can tell voters that they voted for the measure, and take no responsibility for the fact it never became law. This dodge is as old as the Republic.
It also shows the importance of party affiliation. If the Republicans still controlled Congress, a majority of conferees never would have voted to strip “John Doe” protection out of the bill.
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