Posted by 28 May 2020
The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote this week on a bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After President Trump said he would veto the bill if passed, House leadership quickly pulled the bill without indicating when it would be brought up again.
The bill the House was scheduled to vote on was HB 6172, which VoteSpotter as:
To renew provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that permit the federal government to collect business records and other information during national security investigations without a warrant. The FISA law allows a federal judge to approve such collections without notifying the target or hearing opposing arguments. The bill would also to expand the circumstances that require FISA judges to hear from a government-appointed critic of such requests, and increasing the number of FISA courts.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 80-16 on May 14. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 278-136 in March, but had to vote on it again since the Senate amended it.
President Trump has long been a critic of the FISA process, which he contends was used illegally to monitor his 2016 campaign. FISA also has critics on both the left and the right for perceived infringements on civil liberties. However, there is bipartisan support for the bill among members of Congress who think it is vital to protect national security.
During the reauthorization process, there was a question about whether President Trump would support the bill. This week, he cleared up any confusion by saying he would veto it. This led House Republican leadership, which had backed the bill, to reverse themselves and say they were pressing their members to oppose it. Speaker Pelosi pulled the bill because it was uncertain if it would pass.
It remains unclear when the House will consider this legislation again, and if Congress and the president can agree on a version that will be signed into law.
How do you think the FISA process should be reformed?