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FISA Deal Completed, House Vote Likely Tomorrow

Negotiators reached a deal Thursday morning on long-stalled electronic surveillance legislation, with a House vote likely to be held on the measure on Friday, Democratic leadership aides confirmed.

The deal represents a major breakthrough on the long-stalled updated to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has been stuck in Congress for most of the year. 

While talk of a pending deal had intensified throughout the week, as late as Wednesday night, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) cautioned that some details were still being worked out.

However, Democratic aides told Politico Thursday morning that all major differences had been ironed out and that the bill would hit the House floor shortly.

The centerpiece of the compromise is a provision that would allow a federal court to decide whether to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the program and are facing lawsuits from civil liberties organizations.

Here's the full text of the compromise bill provided to Politico ahead of time. The key section to look for is section 201 which explains how telecoms can receive the immunity that President Bush has been seeking. This may cause heartache for liberal Democrats who don't want any immunity for companies involved in wiretapping.

If it holds, the compromise would represent a big win for Hoyer, who spent months shuttling between the different factions of the Democratic caucus and a White House reluctant to make concessions on several key issues.

Martin Kady II contributed to this report

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