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House Votes to Pass FISA Reauthorization. But There’s a Catch.

The GOP-led House voted on Friday to pass a bill that would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) ahead of its expiration deadline next week, but the legislation has one final hurdle to pass before going to the Senate.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), one of the members demanding a warrant requirement, objected to the final passage and sought a vote on a motion to reconsider. Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) moved to table it, but a recorded vote was postponed.

The remaining vote is expected to take place next week. Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman reported that “GOP leadership believes the same coalition that passed FISA will vote to table and the bill will go to the Senate.”

Lawmakers voted 273-147 in favor of extending authorities the U.S. government uses to collect data on non-U.S. citizens abroad and deter threats to the homeland. The legislation, which got bipartisan support, would renew Section 702 for another two years and implement reforms to FISA.

Amendment votes took place earlier in the day, including one for a highly-contentious offering that would add a warrant requirement for officials wanting to do U.S. person searches in the information that gets swept up in foreign surveillance under Section 702.

That amendment, offered by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), got support from hardline conservatives and leftist members concerned about privacy, yet it failed to pass due to a 212-212 tie vote.

“NO WARRANT, NO FISA,” Luna said in a post to X.

The White House joined with some high-ranking Republicans in opposing the warrant requirement over the view that it would jeopardize national security. Turner claimed it would “give constitutional rights to Hezbollah and other foreign adversaries.”

Initially, the FISA bill offered a five-year extension to Section 702, but it got whittled down to two years after it failed to advance earlier this week. The shortened window will allow President Joe Biden or whatever administration may succeed him next year the chance to seek a FISA shakeup.

Former President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to “KILL FISA” and said it was used to spy on his campaign. He was alluding to the FBI’s controversial efforts to get warrants to snoop on a 2016 campaign aide under a different part of FISA, Section 701, using an unverified dossier.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) argued the FISA bill, called the Reforming Intelligence And Securing America Act, implements reforms that would “actually kill the abuses” directed at Trump’s 2016 campaign. Johnson is expected to meet with Trump later in the day on Friday.

If the FISA legislation makes it out of the House, it will head to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said lawmakers “must act quickly on a bipartisan basis to ensure these vital national security authorities do not lapse.”

The White House came out in support of reauthorization but rejected the warrant requirement, saying in a memo that the amendment from Biggs would “eviscerate the value of Section 702.” Lawmakers and Biden have until April 19 to extend Section 702 before it sunsets.

READ 9 COMMENTS
  • Tim Martin says:

    The only good thing is, most of the Rinos will be gone in two years! ( Including the traitor: Johnson) He has proven to be worst than Kevin McCarthy

  • rural deplorable says:

    like i said on sept 11 2001 to the other 17 prisoners in my dorm
    “you know who pays for this attack, eventually one day, us, americans
    ffwd 2 years patriot act and fisa which both used against americans
    i know this very well as being a victim of it in 2003

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