HomePoliticsHouse passes FISA reauthorization bill after previous setback from Republican Party

House passes FISA reauthorization bill after previous setback from Republican Party

The House of Representatives voted Friday to reauthorize a major U.S. spy program deemed critical to national security.

By a vote of 273-147, lawmakers renewed Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expires April 19 through 2026. It now goes to the Senate.

Section 702 allows the U.S. government to collect electronic communications from non-Americans who are outside the country without a warrant. It came under scrutiny from some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and from civil liberties groups because it sometimes results in the collection of data on Americans in contact with the individuals monitored.

An amendment was offered to add a warrant requirement to view Americans’ data, but failed on a 212-212 vote.

The measure was supported by far-right Republicans and progressive Democrats, who said it was necessary to protect Americans’ privacy. However, White House and intelligence officials warned that such a requirement would cripple the program and leave the US “blind” to intelligence used to identify terrorist threats and other national security risks.

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MORE: What is FISA? Surveillance legislation in the spotlight as lawmakers debate the country’s most important spying program

Although FISA reauthorization passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, its path was uncertain earlier this week after hardline Republicans rebelled and failed a routine procedural vote on the issue.

Wednesday’s failed vote, which saw 19 Republican hardliners vote against the party leadership, came after former President Donald Trump made a last-minute decision on the issue. In a post on his social media platform, Trump wrote: “KILL FISA.”

Republicans in the House of Representatives met Wednesday night and Thursday to regroup, and the House Rules Committee voted 8-4 Thursday night to advance the FISA bill after the setback.

Changes to the bill that appeared to appease conservative hardliners resulted in the FISA program being reauthorized for two years instead of five.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 11, 2024. (Shawn Thew/EPA/Shutterstock)

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 11, 2024. (Shawn Thew/EPA/Shutterstock)

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., indicated that accommodation would be a victory for Trump if he is elected in November.

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“I’m very grateful for the responsiveness to some of our requests,” Gaetz said Thursday.

“We just gave President Trump a strike. The previous version of this bill would have kicked the reauthorization out of Trump’s presidency. Now President Trump is getting an at-bat to fix the system that has victimized him more than any other America,” he added.

Virginia Rep. Bob Good also said that “going from five years to two years is a good thing.”

MORE: The FISA program that helped take down Zawahiri is set to expire. Officials are sounding the alarm.

The shorter time frame allows the next Congress to reevaluate to ensure the legislation “really works,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas.

Gaetz also said he has received “absolute assurance” from Johnson that the House will vote next week on a privacy bill from Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise predicted ahead of the vote that the vote would pass, saying it would be a victory for Johnson, who has repeatedly struggled with the party’s right flank in his six months in leadership. Johnson continues to face a looming threat to his speakership from Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene.

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“We will continue to make progress and the Senate will have to do its job,” Scalise said of FISA.

House passes FISA reauthorization bill after previous GOP setbacks originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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