GOP lawmakers block intelligence overhaul

This must be the bill that I brought up below - why CNN doesn't feel the necessity of naming the bill or at least providing the bill's identifying number is beyond me.

So now I'm wondering what's going on, and in Washington, how can you be sure? First, the news breaks that a clause was slipped in to ease financial disclosure laws on every executive branch official. Now the Republicans are divided over immigration policies and are holding up the bill, while Bush is grandstanding them to pass it.

What it appears to be now: the bill isn't going to pass this year, and people are casting around trying to pin the political fallout on somebody else. The financial disclosure measure could have been bait for the Democrats (not many bit, and those that did made the reason for their opposition clear). Now Sensenbrenner's severe restrictions on legal and illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses are making him the whipping boy.

The real issue in this debate is the power of the new director of national intelligence, particularly budgetary power. The less budgetary power, the more the new post will be a figurehead. Three guesses as to what Bush's first position on this bill was.

The bill would have forced the Pentagon, which controls an estimated 80 percent of the government's $40 billion annual intelligence budget, to cede much of its authority on intelligence issues to the new national intelligence director.

"What you are seeing is the forces in favor of the status quo protecting their turf, whether it is Congress or in the bureaucracy," said Senator Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who was the chief Senate author of the failed compromise bill, in what amounted to a slap at her Republican counterparts in the House.

New York Times (link later)
By hook or by crook, this bill died. Without somebody knuckling under, the issue will be passed to the next Congress, who must begin the whole process over. Meanwhile, the Pentagon still has its money, Bush is pinning it on Sensenbrenner, and the problems identified by the 9/11 Committee still hobble our intelligence community.

This is what you elected, America.