Congress Gives Final OK to Detainee Bill

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Congress gives final approval to a new system for trying and interrogating terror suspects while it scrambles to try to finish a mountain of unfinished work as lawmakers campaign to hold on to their jobs. Democrats are calling this a "do-nothing" Congress; Republicans say they are the ones voters can count on to protect national security.

The House voted one last time Friday on legislation setting guidelines for questioning and prosecuting so-called unlawful enemy combatants. The final vote was 250-170, a margin of victory that was 5 votes smaller than a House vote two days ago. Democrats cast all but 8 of the votes against the bill.

Still, 32 Democrats in the House — and 12 in the Senate — voted for the bill, including New Jersey's Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

"I agonized about it, because i'm typically someone who wants to protect everybody's rights," Lautenberg said. "But this I felt I owed it to the survivor families, that's why I did it."

But as he ceremonially enrolled the bill this afternoon, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert left no doubt Republicans plan to use this vote as fodder in their midterm election campaigns.

"Unfortunately, the Democrats have not joined us in this fight," Hastert said, "especially our fight to win the war on terror."



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