Nancy Pelosi Delays FISA Vote After Progressive, Conservative Revolt

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrives to speaks about the coronavirus pandemic during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, May 7, 2020.
Saul Loeb/AFP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delayed a vote on Wednesday to reauthorize parts of the FISA program after a revolt from conservatives and progressive Democrats.

Pelosi decided to cancel Wednesday’s vote on the FISA reauthorization after President Donald Trump signaled his opposition to the bill. The bill faced increasing opposition as Wednesday progressed, and Pelosi failed to galvanize a coalition that could pass an extension of the FISA program.

Trump wrote on Wednesday, “If the FISA Bill is passed tonight on the House floor, I will quickly VETO it.”

The House had initially planned to vote on a bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), to restrict the collection of Internet search history without a warrant. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) asked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to withdraw the bill.

The Davidson and Lofgren amendment was stripped out of the FISA bill, which led Davidson to oppose the bill.

Davidson said in a statement on Wednesday:

While the Senate FISA reauthorization offers modest reforms, I am disappointed that Representatives refused to consider basic protections for Americans’ constitutionally protected right to privacy—protections that enjoy bipartisan support in both House and Senate.

“I cannot in good conscience support reauthorizing FISA without making more serious changes to protect Americans’ from warrantless surveillance, and therefore, I oppose the underlying bill,” he added.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) released a statement opposing any short term reauthorization of the FISA program.

“The House Freedom Caucus supports pulling the FISA Reauthorization bill from consideration on the floor today,” the Freedom Caucus wrote. “HFC will oppose any short-term reauthorization of expired FISA authorities.”

Progressives mounted opposition to the bill as well. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who sponsored a privacy-centric amendment with Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), pushed progressives against the legislation.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement opposing the bill.

Some proponents of FISA reform, such as Davidson, said that the backlash against FISA reform shows that proposed reforms will rein in government surveillance.

Davidson said during the Rules Committee hearing on Wednesday, “You can tell we’re getting to actual reform, not just by the allies, but by the opponents. I’d vote for it.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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