Republicans Kill Media Shield Bill

Desperate to avoid a vote on offshore drilling – and fearing that gasoline prices might actually drop as a result – today Senate Democrats failed in an effort to divert the Senate from energy legislation to debate the so-called “Media Shield” legislation. 

That bill would create a legal privilege for reporters to protect confidential sources and is strongly opposed by the Director of National Intelligence Adm. Mike McConnell and Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo), ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

McConnell and Bond believe that the bill would interfere with intelligence collection (even changing the just-amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) and making the prosecution of leakers almost impossible.

Bond made a strong plea for support against the bill in today’s meeting of Senate Republicans, and that — fortunately — worked.

Bond told HUMAN EVENTS, “Today’s vote sent a message to the Democratic leadership that our top priority is bringing real gas price relief to American families.”

The Democrats’ motion to invoke cloture on the “Free Flow of Information Act of 2007” was rejected in a 51-43 Senate vote this morning. That means the bill is off the Senate agenda at least until Congress returns after the August recess.

Currently, 49 states have “shield laws” protecting journalists and their sources in state legal proceedings, but there is no federal statute to give journalists and their sources protection from federal proceedings.

The bill’s authors are Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The house overwhelmingly passed the Free Flow of Information Act in October with a 398-21 vote.

The following is the roll call for the cloture motion:

YEAs — 51

Akaka (D-HI) Durbin (D-IL) Menendez (D-NJ)
Baucus (D-MT) Feingold (D-WI) Mikulski (D-MD)
Bayh (D-IN) Feinstein (D-CA) Murray (D-WA)
Biden (D-DE) Hagel (R-NE) Nelson (D-FL)
Bingaman (D-NM) Harkin (D-IA) Nelson (D-NE)
Boxer (D-CA) Inouye (D-HI) Pryor (D-AR)
Brown (D-OH) Johnson (D-SD) Reed (D-RI)
Byrd (D-WV) Kerry (D-MA) Salazar (D-CO)
Cantwell (D-WA) Klobuchar (D-MN) Sanders (I-VT)
Cardin (D-MD) Kohl (D-WI) Schumer (D-NY)
Carper (D-DE) Landrieu (D-LA) Smith (R-OR)
Casey (D-PA) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Specter (R-PA)
Clinton (D-NY) Leahy (D-VT) Stabenow (D-MI)
Collins (R-ME) Levin (D-MI) Tester (D-MT)
Conrad (D-ND) Lieberman (ID-CT) Webb (D-VA)
Dodd (D-CT) Lincoln (D-AR) Whitehouse (D-RI)
Dorgan (D-ND) Lugar (R-IN) Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs — 43

Alexander (R-TN) Crapo (R-ID) McConnell (R-KY)
Allard (R-CO) DeMint (R-SC) Murkowski (R-AK)
Barrasso (R-WY) Dole (R-NC) Reid (D-NV)
Bennett (R-UT) Domenici (R-NM) Roberts (R-KS)
Bond (R-MO) Ensign (R-NV) Sessions (R-AL)
Brownback (R-KS) Enzi (R-WY) Shelby (R-AL)
Bunning (R-KY) Graham (R-SC) Snowe (R-ME)
Burr (R-NC) Grassley (R-IA) Stevens (R-AK)
Chambliss (R-GA) Gregg (R-NH) Sununu (R-NH)
Coburn (R-OK) Hatch (R-UT) Thune (R-SD)
Cochran (R-MS) Hutchison (R-TX) Vitter (R-LA)
Coleman (R-MN) Inhofe (R-OK) Voinovich (R-OH)
Corker (R-TN) Isakson (R-GA) Warner (R-VA)
Cornyn (R-TX) Kyl (R-AZ)  
Craig (R-ID) Martinez (R-FL)  

Not Voting — 6

Kennedy (D-MA) McCaskill (D-MO) Rockefeller (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ) Obama (D-IL) Wicker (R-MS)