President Bush's demand that the Senate swiftly approve an overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act doesn't seem to be prompting any significant action in the Senate, where Democrats withdrew it from floor action amid opposition from liberal members of the party.
The House already approved a version that has provoked a veto threat. The Senate appeared ready to OK one more acceptable to Bush but yanked it instead and voted to grant an extension until February 1. GOP and White House sources said that the battle may become a major topic in Bush's State of the Union address, slated for January 28.
"If FISA isn't completed, Bush will have the rhetorical upper hand to get what he wants," said one Republican strategist involved in the battle. That appears likely, added another source, because Congress isn't due back until January 22, and Senate Republicans are planning a retreat the next day.