House to vote on FISA reauthorization in April

by | Mar 15, 2024

Speaker Johnson intends to schedule a vote next month on a stand-alone bill to renew a contentious surveillance authority, as he disclosed in an interview with POLITICO on Thursday.

This marks the first instance where Johnson has outlined a timeline for reintroducing a floor vote on a bill to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He has previously postponed the legislation twice due to significant divisions within his own party, and Republicans acknowledge that persistent splits over the issue have not diminished.

Congress must decide on extending or modifying the foreign surveillance authority by April 19. This power targets non-citizens outside the United States but has faced criticism due to its capacity to collect American information.

Some concerns have emerged that Johnson might append a short-term extension of Section 702 to a government funding bill, which leaders aim to pass next week. This prospect has caused considerable unease for privacy advocates, who are seeking amendments to the existing law before reauthorization.

In the Politico interview, the speaker indicated that his current intention is to adhere to the legislation negotiated by leadership and members of the Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

As per the agreement, Republicans on the Judiciary and Intelligence committees were anticipated to receive amendment votes on their key priorities that were not initially incorporated into the bill. However, Johnson withdrew the bill after Republicans on the Intelligence Committee threatened to obstruct its passage to the floor, citing two amendments proposed by privacy advocates.

One of the proposals aims to mandate a warrant, with certain exceptions, before searching the data for any information pertaining to Americans, a higher standard argued by security advocates to potentially undermine the authority.

Source: POLITICO

 

 

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