Home Uncategorized JUST IN: Republican Makes Move That Blindsides Democrats

JUST IN: Republican Makes Move That Blindsides Democrats

JUST IN: Republican Makes Move That Blindsides Democrats

A Republican lawmaker has thrown a procedural wrench into Congress. On Friday, the House voted 273-147 to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a U.S. surveillance program crucial to national security. The program, which enables the government to collect electronic communications of non-Americans located outside the country without a warrant, now advances to the Senate for consideration. The renewal extends the program through 2026.

The vote was largely bipartisan, with 126 Republicans and 147 Democrats supporting the legislation. The renewal comes after an initial attempt was blocked on the floor by 19 conservative lawmakers who demanded more privacy protections.

Section 702 has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle and civil liberties groups because it can lead to the incidental collection of data on Americans in contact with foreign targets. A proposed amendment that would have required a warrant for more types of surveillance narrowly failed in a 212-212 vote, just days before the successful vote on the overall bill.

However, a procedural hurdle introduced by Republican Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) from Florida means the bill cannot immediately proceed to the Senate. The motion requires another vote to discharge the bill to the Senate, which is seen as a rare delaying tactic. There is urgency as there is a looming deadline in about a week and a half for the Senate to synchronize with the House to ensure these surveillance programs continue without interruption.


FISA is a United States federal law enacted in 1978. It establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism. The law was passed in response to revelations about the U.S. government’s extensive spying on American citizens, particularly as conducted by the FBI and the NSA during the 1960s and 1970s.

FISA was designed to provide a legal framework and oversight for surveillance activities while protecting against potential abuses of power. It created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a special U.S. federal court that is responsible for reviewing and approving requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies inside the U.S.

Over the years, FISA has been amended several times, notably after the September 11, 2001, attacks with the USA PATRIOT Act, and later with the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which added provisions for the government to obtain the data of foreigners overseas without a warrant (this includes Section 702, often discussed in the context of U.S. surveillance activities). These amendments expanded the NSA’s ability to collect information without a court order, leading to significant debates over privacy and civil liberties.

The bill has not gone without controversy. A handful of House Republicans dealt a setback to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Wednesday by killing the motion to vote on his proposed FISA reauthorization. 19 Republicans joined with Democrats two days ago to defeat the rule by a vote of 228 to 193.

Republican dissenters do not feel the bill has gone far enough to address numerous instances of illegal surveillance undertaken by the FBI and the CIA. Intelligence officials have been caught using FISA surveillance — which is designed for surveillance on foreign citizens — to illegally spy on members of the Trump campaign in 2016, January 6 protesters, and Republican politicians.


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