Wed. May 29th, 2024

House Pushes Forward with Updated FISA Bill After Chaotic Vote on the House Floor, Setting the Stage for the Final Decision

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May26,2024

The House advanced a bill Friday to reauthorize the U.S.’s warrantless surveillance authority, opening the measure up for debate two days after a band of conservatives blocked a previous version of the legislation from moving forward.

The chamber cleared the rule — which governs debate for legislation — in a 213-208 vote, teeing up a final vote on a bill that reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for two years and institutes a number of reforms to the spying powers.

A final vote on the legislation — in addition to a number of amendments — is slated for around 11:45 a.m. EDT Friday. Congress is facing an April 19 deadline to reauthorize the program.

Section 702 of FISA allows for the warrantless surveillance of foreigners located abroad, which proponents have said is key to fighting terrorism. But in that process, the government also sweeps up communications from Americans who are interacting with individuals being spied on.

That dynamic prompted a group of privacy hawks to push for an amendment that would add a warrant requirement before the government is able to review information collected on Americans. The amendment will also receive a vote Friday.

Advancement of the FISA bill is a significant development in the months-long battle over reauthorizing the U.S.’s warrantless spying powers.

The fight hit a fever pitch Wednesday, when 19 Republicans tanked a procedural vote for a previous version of the FISA bill, blocking it from moving forward, dealing an embarrassing blow to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), and forcing lawmakers back to the drawing board as they looked for a compromise on reauthorizing the spying powers.

After negotiations, leadership changed the legislation to reauthorize FISA for two years rather than five, a detail that helped assuage concerns of the GOP holdouts. Those opponents also said leadership committed to holding a vote on a bill sponsored by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) that would require the government to get a warrant before purchasing information about U.S. citizens from data brokers.

With those changes and commitments, a number of the GOP holdouts said they would back the rule Friday.

“Barring anything else, I will be good,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said Thursday.

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “House Pushes Forward with Updated FISA Bill After Chaotic Vote on the House Floor, Setting the Stage for the Final Decision”
  1. Do you think the reforms included in the bill are sufficient to address concerns about the warrantless surveillance of Americans?

    1. Yes, I believe the reforms in the bill are a step in the right direction to address the concerns surrounding warrantless surveillance of Americans. It’s crucial to strike a balance between national security and protecting individual privacy rights.

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