The US Congress has been far too compliant as President George W. Bush undermined the Bill of Rights and the balance of powers. It now has a chance to undo some of that damage - if it has the courage to stand up to the White House and for the Constitution.

The Senate should reject a bill that would needlessly expand the government’s ability to spy on Americans and ensure that the country never learns the full extent of Bush’s unlawful wiretapping.

The bill dangerously weakens the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. Adopted after the abuses of the Watergate and Vietnam eras, the law requires the government to get a warrant to intercept communications between anyone in the US. The Senate should reject this bill and start over with modest legislation that makes the small needed changes.

Proponents of the FISA deal say communication companies should not be “punished” for cooperating with the government. The purpose of withholding immunity is not to punish but to preserve the chance of unearthing the details of Bush’s outlaw eavesdropping. A few senators, know just what those companies did. Restoring some of the protections taken away by an earlier law while creating new loopholes in the Constitution is not a compromise. It is a failure of leadership. — International Herald Tribune