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Roberts faces vote on "warrantless wiretapping"
Today is a big day for Sen. Pat Roberts, and for the future of any effort to investigate the so-called warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency.[Knight Ridder] reports: _The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a Democratic plan to conduct a broad investigation into the program. Committee chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is trying to win support for a more limited inquiry. Roberts refused to say Monday whether he had the votes to forestall the Democratic demand for an investigation. Democrats need only one Republican to side with them to order such a probe.The partisan clash over the scope of an investigation prompted Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee last week to demand a meeting with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. He also threatened to restructure the Intelligence Committee in a way that would weaken Democrats.Reid on Monday dismissed Frist's call for talks."Let's have the Intelligence Committee do its work," Reid said. "I believe that we should see if Senator Roberts, who is a man of his word, is going to allow a vote on whether there should be an investigation. So when that' s completed ... I'll be happy to consider a meeting, but until then, what's there to meet about?"_[ABC News] adds: _Majority Leader Bill Frist and committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas have recently been trying to play peacemakers. Frist, R-Tenn., advertised closed meetings last week with Republicans critical of the program, including Hagel, Snowe, DeWine, and also some Republican members of the Judiciary Committee. It is unclear whether they have achieved a legislative fix for the program that would enable the White House to continue with it largely unchanged.This "legislative fix" would potentially be similar to DeWine's idea to have Congress pass a retroactive law to legalize the program, potentially with more limited congressional oversight. It is unclear whether that oversight would have teeth or whether it would be the White House keeping select members of Congress somewhat more informed._Other links today:Sam Brownback links[(Des Moines Register) Huckabee courts social conservatives:] In the political equivalent of preaching to the choir, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee introduced himself Monday to many of the Iowa social conservatives whose support he will need should he run for president. ... Among the most-discussed GOP candidates, Huckabee is expected to compete with U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas for the affections of Iowa's social conservatives, a group that has proven to be a potent political force in the state party's first-in-the-nation caucuses.[(Cal Thomas syndicated commentary) Is McCain the One?] McCain is generous about two of his potential rivals for the GOP nomination. About Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, he says, "(He) is a far more decent person than John McCain is."[(The Hill) Stem-cell supporters pressure Frist to bring the issue to the Senate floor:] Proponents of expanding stem-cell research are beginning to roll out their strategies for raising awareness of the issue in hopes of compelling Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to set aside time for debate. ... Although Specter, Hatch and the Democrats share a common goal of passing the legislation, the Republicans have not always worked in close concert with the Democrats. Democrats were not included in Frist's negotiations with Specter and Hatch last year on how to raise the stem-cells bill alongside other legislation, including a ban on human cloning sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). In addition to Brownback's cloning-ban bill, which would prohibit some kinds of embryonic-stem-cell research, several Senate Republicans have floated alternatives to Specter's bill that have complicated Frist's efforts to make time and obtain unanimous consent to limit debate.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.] : http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14033159.htm : http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=1692603&page=1 : http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060307/NEWS09/603070380/1056w.yahoo.com : http://www.nysun.com/article/28687 : http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Business/030706_stemcell.html : http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed