Nancy Pelosi Withdraws FISA Bill After Conservatives and Progressives Rebel

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi speaks with Texas Tribune CEO, Evan Smith during a panel at The Texas Tribune Festival on September 28, 2019 in Austin, Texas. Pelosi was scheduled to speak before the announcement of the impeachment inquiry but the inquiry …
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) withdrew a bill from consideration on the House floor on Thursday after conservatives and progressives rebelled.

Pelosi and Democrat congressional leaders remain undecided on what to do next with the proposal to reauthorize three expired surveillance programs left hanging.

The speaker decided to delay the FISA bill on Wednesday after President Donald Trump signaled he will veto it.

“If the FISA Bill is passed tonight on the House floor, I will quickly VETO it,” Trump wrote on Wednesday. “Our Country has just suffered through the greatest political crime in its history. The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!”

The president thanked Republican lawmakers for blocking the bill on Wednesday night, which he charged would allow future FISA abuses to continue.

Trump wrote:

Thank you to our GREAT Republican Congressmen & Congresswomen on your incredibly important blockage last night of a FISA Bill that would just perpetuate the abuse that produced the Greatest Political Crime In the History of the U.S., the Russian Witch-Hunt. Fantastic Job!

Conservatives wanted to push for a vote on an amendment to the Democrat FISA bill, sponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), that would restrict the collection of Internet search history without a warrant. The amendment was stripped from consideration.

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.

Conservative activist groups backed the measure to pull the bill.

Jason Pye, FreedomWorks’ vice president of legislative affairs, said in a statement:

President Trump is correct that warrantless surveillance of Americans is wrong. Our Bill of Rights could hardly be more clear that the strict due process rights of Americans be free from undue search and seizure by the government in the absence of probable cause. H.R. 6172 was a low-quality facsimile of a true reform package, with the exception of the amicus language that was added in the Senate.

Hopefully, the overwhelming success of bipartisan FISA reforms offered by Senators Lee and Leahy in the Senate can be a new baseline to build from. Along with warrant requirements, such as those included in the Wyden-Daines amendment that so narrowly failed, elected officials can and should work to restore a strong Fourth Amendment so that the abuses that have been revealed can never happen again.

FreedomWorks will continue to oppose any efforts to reauthorize the expired provisions of FISA without serious reform.

“We hope to see reformers have a chance to participate in a real, deliberative legislative process instead of being presented with a bill written behind closed doors by Congressional leadership and the DOJ,” Pye 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 also launched opposition to the bill.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who sponsored a similar change to the Davidson-Lofgren amendment, lobbied House progressives to oppose the bill.

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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