By William Branigin and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 12, 2008; 1:25 PM
The Senate voted today to preserve retroactive immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that cooperated with a government eavesdropping program, decisively rejecting an amendment that would have stripped the provision from a bill to modernize an electronic surveillance law.
Senators voted 67 to 31 to shelve the amendment offered by Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). A filibuster-proof 60 votes had been needed for the amendment to move forward.
The vote represented a victory for the Bush administration and a number of telecommunications companies — including AT&T and Sprint Nextel — that face dozens of lawsuits from customers seeking billions of dollars in damages.
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