Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Bloomberg News on Friday that he will try and push for a separate vote on immunity for telecommunications companies when the Senate takes up electronic surveillance legislation next week.
``I'm going to try real hard to have a separate vote on immunity,'' Reid said in an interview to be aired this weekend on Bloomberg Television. ``Probably we can't take that out of the bill, but I'm going to try.''
On Friday, the House passed an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that called for a federal district court to review the legal justifications for granting immunity to the telecoms that participated in the wiretapping program.
Separating the bill would give political cover to Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who could vote for many of the updates to the 1978 FISA law, but could still vote against telecom immunity, an issue that has become a key flashpoint on the left.
It remains to be seen if GOP senators would allow Reid to unpack the delicate compromise that congressional leaders worked for months to broker.
Although Reid said "we will have to see" when asked how he was going to vote on the measure, earlier this week, Reid indicated he likely would not support the new FISA compromise, as he still had concerns about the immunity issue.