Bill to Extend Mass Surveillance Program Fails House Vote

Credit: Jens Best

A group of 19 House Republicans bucked GOP leadership and voted with Democrats against a bill that would extend Section 702, the law that allows for mass surveillance and the collection of Americans’ data. 

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) brought the legislation up for a procedural vote, and it failed 193-228. The Republican opposition was made up of a group of freedom-oriented Representatives led by Matt Gaetz (R-FL). 

“The reauthorization lacks essential reforms to protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, such as requiring the FBI to obtain a warrant before searching Americans’ data and a prohibition on the government purchasing Americans’ data from third-party data brokers,” the Flordia congressman said in a statement. “FISA authorities have been used to violate the law more than 278,000 times by the national security state, and there has yet to be any consequences for this illegal activity by our government.”

Gaetz criticized Johnson for letting a bill to renew Section 702 come to the floor without sufficient reforms. “If Speaker Johnson is unwilling to fix FISA Section 702, we are left wondering what he is indeed willing to fix. Now, the very authorities that we saw weaponized against President Trump and the American people are poised to get enhancements under this reauthorization, rather than any of the reforms that are so desperately needed,” he explained.