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House Overcomes GOP Hurdle to Advance FISA Reauthorization

House Overcomes GOP Hurdle to Advance FISA Reauthorization
ABC News

In a significant turnaround, the House of Representatives has cleared a major obstacle in the path to reauthorizing the contentious Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy program.

This development comes after a previous setback orchestrated by GOP hard-liners.

The bill, which seeks to renew Section 702 of FISA, is deemed critical to U.S. national security interests.

Section 702 permits the government to collect electronic communications of non-Americans located outside the country without a warrant, a provision that has raised concerns over privacy rights.

The House’s initial attempt to pass a routine procedural vote on the bill was thwarted when 19 Republican hard-liners voted against it, following a last-minute intervention by former President Donald Trump who urged, “KILL FISA,” via his social media platform.

However, in a renewed effort, the House passed the rule on Friday morning, setting the stage for a full floor debate, consideration of amendments, and a final vote.

The revised bill proposes a two-year reauthorization of the spy powers, a reduction from the previously suggested five years.

The breakthrough was achieved after Speaker Mike Johnson and GOP members reached a compromise. Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., expressed satisfaction with the outcome, stating,

“We just bought President Trump an at-bat. The previous version of this bill would’ve kicked reauthorization beyond the Trump presidency. Now, President Trump gets an at-bat to fix the system that victimized him more than any other American,” highlighting the political maneuvering behind the scenes.

The White House has also weighed in, strongly supporting the reauthorization of Section 702, citing its importance in identifying threats ranging from terrorism to fentanyl supply chains.

Despite the House’s success in moving the bill forward, the debate is far from over. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it must be passed before the April 19 deadline.

The outcome will determine the future of U.S. surveillance capabilities and the delicate balance between national security and individual privacy rights.